MEDIA RELEASE 16 November 2022 |
New Victorian election poll reveals environmental issues more influential than infrastructure and Covid
Saving threatened species, ending native forest logging and creating new national parks on both land and sea have emerged as key Victorian election issues, according to a new state-wide poll.
More than one third of Victorians say their vote would be influenced by saving threatened species and stopping extinction (36%).
Three in 10 voters said ending native forest logging would influence their vote.
Both issues outstripped the suburban rail loop (20%), level crossing removal (20%) and Covid restrictions (14%).
The poll of 1000 voters was commissioned by the Victorian National Parks Association and conducted by independent research firm Lonergan Research.
It shows support for existing and new national parks, along with strong threatened species programs is soaring:
- 86% of Victorians support the state having a comprehensive network of National Parks and conservation reserves across land and sea
- 83% supported all Victorian political parties having comprehensive policies, programs and laws to stop extinction of local plants and animals
- 81.5% of Victorians specifically support having marine national parks to protect habitats
- Three quarters of Victorians support national park expansion and protection, including Great Forest National Park in the Yarra Ranges (76%) and new parks in the central west such as wombat forest (75%)
- Nearly two thirds (64%) of Victorians support the ending of native forest logging, with 29% in strong support
- More than 2 in 3 Victorians believe the best use for Victoria’s 3 million hectares of publicly owned state forests is for the protection of wildlife, trees and nature
- Just 11% support native forest logging
- 30% said their vote would be influenced by policy announcements about the end of native forest logging, new national parks stronger threatened species law
Quotes attributable to Matt Ruchel, Executive Director of the Victorian National Parks Association:
“This poll shows Victorians expect strong action on nature, which has not received anywhere near enough policy attention in the Victorian State election so far,“ said Matt Ruchel, Executive Director of the Victorian National Parks Association.
”There appears to be a mismatch between public attitudes and government priorities when it comes to protecting nature.
“Native forest logging needs to end much sooner rather than later, and the community expects policy makers to deal with the threatened species crisis and create new national parks.
“The cost of 2-3 level crossing removals is roughly equal to the total amount the Andrews government has spent on our more than 2000 threatened species and habitats since 2014. There is a clear appetite from the community for higher priority to be put on protection of nature.”
Quotes attributable to Sarah Rees from The Great Forest National Park Initiative:
“This confirms nature could influence key seats in this election. Announcing policies to end logging, save species and create parks could increase voter support by 30%.
“Melbourne has a parks deficit. There is too much pressure on existing parks so we need new parks created in the east and west of Melbourne.
“Clearly Victorians have a strong appetite for camping and bushwalking and want more short and long trails around Melbourne. First Nations groups need to be front and centre in this decision-making and management.”
Quotes attributable to Shannon Hurley, VNPA Nature Conservation Campaigner:
“Support for marine parks is very high. Marine national parks are highly protected areas that conserve unique marine habitats in their natural state and provide an insurance policy against environmental impacts.
“Victoria was a world leader when the network of marine parks and sanctuaries was established but there hasn’t been a new marine park created for two decades.
“With just 5.3 per cent of Victoria’s coastal waters protected in “no-take” areas, Victoria is now behind almost every other jurisdiction in Australia.
“This is a critical oversight given increased energy developments including oil, gas, offshore wind and electricity, as well as serious climate change risks.”
November 16 marks 20 years since Victoria established the world’s first highly protected network of marine national parks and sanctuaries. The iconic Twelve Apostles’ Marine National Park, Wilsons Promontory Marine National Park and Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park are among 24 protected areas.
Great Forest National Park photos are available here.
About the poll: The research was commissioned by Victoria National Parks Association and conducted by Lonergan Research in accordance with the ISO 20252 standard, and in compliance with the Australian Polling Council Quality Mark standards (www.australianpollingcouncil.com). Lonergan Research surveyed 1,000 Victorians aged 18+. Surveys were distributed throughout Victoria, and conducted online amongst members of a permission-based panel, between Friday 28 October and Sunday 6 November 2022. After interviewing, data was weighted to the latest population estimates sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. found at https://lonerganresearch.com.au/methodology-statements.