Strong support for conservation and landcare job creation initiatives as Australians increasingly struggle to find work: new polling results

17 August 2020

More than four in five Australians ( 83% ) think the Morrison Government should fund practical
environmental initiatives like tree planting, weed removal and river restoration to keep people in
regional communities employed while Australia recovers from the economic impacts of
COVID-19, according to a recent poll.

The polling comes off the back of data showing that there has been a 134% increase in people
actively looking for work through the Federal Government’s JobActive program over the first six
months of 2020. There were 1.4 million people looking for work in the second quarter of 2020,
which is an increase of 821,000 people compared to the final quarter of 2019.

Funding practical environmental work came in as the second most popular ( 75% support ) out
of 12 options for keeping people in regional communities employed, second only to increasing
funding for training and apprenticeships (78%).

The polling, conducted by Dynata and commissioned by the National Landcare Network, found
that three quarters ( 76% ) of Australians are concerned about the health of the country’s forests,
rivers and wildlife, with a similar number ( 74%) agreeing that economic stimulus funding should
be used to help communities and the environment recover from the bushfires and drought.

“Australians are overwhelmingly supportive of COVID-recovery initiatives that can keep people
in work while also helping damaged landscapes recover,” said Jim Adams, CEO, National
Landcare Network.

“They see that practical initiatives to help plant trees, restore degraded river systems and
eradicate noxious weeds and feral animals are an ideal way to help improve our landscapes
while also ensuring communities survive this tough period.”

“Even with JobKeeper, data released by the federal government shows there has been a sharp
increase in people looking for work in all parts of Australia,” said Pepe Clarke, Deputy Director
of the Pew Charitable Trusts Outback to Oceans program.

“Given the clear evidence of people struggling to find work, it would be great to see the Federal
Government responding to this strong public support for funding practical conservation and land
management work while the economy recovers,” said Mr Clarke.

In order to keep people employed while Australia recovers from the impact of COVID-19, an
alliance of more than 70 conservation and farming organisations is calling on state and federal
governments to fund thousands of jobs undertaking practical conservation activities like planting
trees, removing weeds and restoring rivers.

Several state governments have already responded, announcing new landcare and
conservation programs designed to get people back to work.

The Dynata polling was conducted on 20-21 July across a sample of 1009 respondents