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Clean industries are key to future prosperity, poll shows

Clean industries

A new poll released today of over 2,000 voters in Queensland and NSW has revealed that six in 10 believe the states’ future economic prosperity lies in clean industries, like renewable energy exports, critical minerals and manufacturing renewable products.  

Only a quarter of voters in Queensland (26 per cent) and about one fifth in NSW (21 per cent) believe their state’s future prosperity lies in coal and gas.  

NSW and Queensland dominate Australia’s coal export sectors, with NSW being home to the world’s largest coal port, in Newcastle. Three of Australia’s major liquefied gas export facilities are located in Queensland. 

Yet two-thirds of voters say clean jobs in renewable energy will be the best source of future employment (63 per cent in Queensland and 68 per cent in NSW). Overall, less than a quarter of respondents back fossil fuels as the best source of future jobs (27 per cent in Queensland and 19 per cent in NSW). 

The survey, commissioned by the Climate Council and conducted by YouGov, also found that: 

  • Six in 10 say the government’s top investment priority should be in renewables (60 per cent Queensland; 62 per cent NSW). In Queensland, only 20 per cent nominated coal and 15 per cent said gas. In NSW, the figures were 15 per cent for coal and 17 per cent for gas. 
  • More than six in 10 overall agree that further cuts to carbon emissions will deliver economic benefits to workers (58 per cent in Queensland and 64 per cent in NSW) and to businesses (59 per cent Queensland and 66 per cent NSW). 
  • Six in 10 agree that regional areas will benefit most from the global transformation to renewables (60 per cent Queensland; 61 per cent NSW). 
  • Only two in 10 believe workers who rely on fossil fuels are getting enough support to prepare for a decarbonised future without coal and gas (19 per cent in Queensland; 21 per cent in NSW). 

“This polling reveals that people in NSW and Queensland understand the era of coal and gas in this country is coming to a close as the world rapidly decarbonises. They strongly support government investment in new, clean industries that will future-proof jobs and secure our economic prosperity,” leading economist and Climate Councillor Nicki Hutley said. 

“However, there is a strong view that there needs to be better support from government for communities that currently rely on fossil fuels in order for them to adjust to the changes. All governments should pay attention to this public groundswell of support for clean industries and commit to credible carbon cuts this decade. The federal government can play a huge role in helping Queensland and NSW harness their immense natural advantages and put these states on a path to becoming clean industry and renewable superpowers.” 

Dr Amanda Cahill is the CEO of The Next Economy, a not for profit that works with business, local government and the community to manage the transition from fossil fuels to clean new industries. 

“There are so many opportunities for regional areas and they’re crying out for support from government to help them diversify their economies,” Cahill said. 

“This poll reaffirms what I’ve been hearing on the ground. Workers, businesses and investors are ready to take advantage of the opportunities in the new economy, but they need the government to back them in with clear targets, regional development funding and planning support. 

“The countries we export to are already on the road to net zero emissions and we have a choice – help them do it or lose out on those new export opportunities.” 

The full state-wide poll findings from NSW and Queensland, the full questions and a methodology statement are available here. 

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