Opinions of Australians towards the mining sector are at their highest level in six years, with net favourability rebounding to +28 after hitting a low of +1 in February 2016.
Public opinion research conducted for the MCA by JWS Research in May 2018 also shows that views towards coal mining, iron ore, gold and uranium have all significantly improved since early 2016.
Outright support for the mining industry amongst Australians outweighs opposition by more than three to one, with total support at 46 per cent versus total opposition at 13 per cent.
The main reasons provided by respondents to support the Australian mining industry included:
- Providing high-wage, high-skill, high-technology jobs for Australians (55 per cent agreement)
- Providing resources essential for modern life, technology and business in Australia (55 per cent)
- Providing almost 60 per cent of the jobs in the regional communities in which it operates (53 per cent).
Australians had strong positive views on the perceived importance of resource industries for the nation’s future. Iron ore was seen by 14 per cent of people as the most important resource, with coal and battery minerals like lithium and cobalt (both 9 per cent) also seen as important.
The qualitative phase of the research included face to face focus group discussions in Parramatta and Melbourne and online discussion forums amongst regional mining communities, whilst a nationally representative sample of 1,500 Australians was surveyed in the quantitative phase.
We welcome the strong positive support for the world-class mining sector amongst Australians. These results show that the advocacy of the MCA, our members and other industry supporters is working to restore public support for the industry.
However, the results also show that our industry needs to do more to address perceptions amongst some Australians that the industry does not do enough to manage its environmental impact, look after employees or share prosperity across the community.
Almost half of those surveyed believed mining companies should be repatriating land that had been mined, with strong views also recorded on the need for companies to invest in health and welfare programs, including mental health and social welfare.
Australian mining has a strong track record in mine rehabilitation and investing in regional communities. The research indicates that the industry needs to provide more information to the public about its positive activities in these and other areas.
The research also showed that the MCA’s Making the Future Possible industry positioning campaign is having a positive effect. Net favourability of the mining industry was six points higher (+34 versus +28) amongst those who had seen the campaign, increasing to +40 amongst all Australians after they had seen the campaign and considered reasons to support and oppose the Australian mining industry.
The MCA and our members will use these results in future industry communication and campaigning work, including highlighting the great work being done by Australian mining companies in responsible environmental management and health and safety.