National survey finds Australians want government to spend much more on nature conservation

The Biodiversity Council has undertaken a national survey of attitudes to biodiversity conservation issues, revealing that Australians’ connection to, and concern for, our natural environment remains strong and that 95% of Australians support increased federal government investment in nature.

Organisation/s: Biodiversity Council, RMIT University, Monash University, The University of Queensland, The University of Melbourne, The University of Newcastle

Funder: The Biodiversity Council was founded by 11 universities including its host the University of Melbourne, with support from The Ian Potter Foundation, The Ross Trust, Trawalla Foundation, The Rendere Trust, Isaacson Davis Foundation, Coniston Charitable Trust and Angela Whitbread.

Media release

From: Biodiversity Council

The Biodiversity Council has undertaken a second national survey of attitudes to biodiversity conservation issues, revealing that Australians’ connection to, and concern for, our natural environment remains strong and that 95% of Australians support increased federal government investment in nature.

The social research undertaken for the Biodiversity Council by Monash University asked over 3,400 people about major environmental issues and policies that state and federal governments are likely to face in 2024.

Research leader Dr Kim Borg from Monash University said,

“We found strong levels of support from the majority of the community to improve nature conservation in Australia, through increased funding, stronger laws, and pro-nature policies.

“For example, almost everyone wants the federal government to spend more on nature and three quarters of people feel that at least 2% of the federal budget should be spent on nature. This would represent more than a five-fold increase of current investments.

“Most people believe that governments should have a duty of care to protect future generations from environmental harm.

“Two-thirds of people want the assessment and consideration of climate and carbon emissions to be mandatory on all major projects.

“The survey was benchmarked against Australian Bureau of Statistics data so we can have confidence that the results fairly represent the views of the Australian community,” Dr Borg said.

Biodiversity Council Director James Trezise said the results show that there is strong support in the community for protecting Australia’s globally significant wildlife.

“Australia is home to a vast array of unique plants and animals that occur nowhere else on earth, yet we are also a world leader when it comes to the extinction of wildlife.

“This survey highlights that in the midst of a cost of living crisis, people still care deeply about nature and want to see more ambition when it comes to protecting and restoring our environment.

“We have seen some bold and welcome commitments from Minister Plibersek on the global stage, and this research highlights there is a strong expectation across the Australian community for meeting these.

“The government has committed to introducing a root and branch reform of our national environmental laws into parliament this year.

“This research shows that a majority of Australians are supportive of the introduction of strong new environmental laws along with limiting the use of biodiversity offsets and protecting critically important habitats.

“It also highlights that there is strong support for a range of measures that are not currently on the government’s agenda, such as introducing a duty of care for decision makers and protecting species of cultural significance,” Mr Trezise said.

The Biodiversity Council was founded by 11 Australian Universities to communicate accurate information on biodiversity issues to the community and to promote evidence-based solutions.

Key findings:

●      95% of people (19 in 20) want the federal government to spend more on nature.

●      75% of people (3 in 4) feel that at least 2% of the federal budget should be spent on nature. This would represent more than a five-fold increase of current investments.

●      71% of people (3 in 4) believe that governments should have a duty of care to protect future generations from environmental harm.

●      63% of people (2 in 3) want the assessment and consideration of climate and carbon emissions to be mandatory on all major projects.

●      60% of people support the establishment of an independent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

●      Only 16% of people (1 in 6) think that the Federal Environment Minister should be able to override the Environmental Protection Agency.

●      67% of people (2 in 3) support reducing the use of biodiversity offsets through better planning.

●      64% of people think it’s very important that Australia meets its international obligations to stop or reduce the extinction of plants and animals

SOURCE

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