A new poll highlights growing need for nature and parks amongst COVID-fatigued Melburnians.

A new opinion poll of 1,009 Melburnians over the age of 18, commissioned by the Victorian National Parks Association and conducted by Lonergan Research, highlights that the COVID-19 lock downs across metro Melbourne have enhanced the value of nature and national parks for many.

Key points from the poll include:

  • More than half of Melburnians say COVID-19 restrictions have made them value access to natural areas (56%), and national parks (52%), across Victoria more.  Nearly half (46%), of those in Melbourne say the COVID-19 restrictions made them visit bushland and parks in their local area.
  • Four in five (81%) Melbournians support the proposals to expand national parks in Victoria around Daylesford, Woodend, Bendigo and Ballarat. One in seven (14%), are undecided, only 4% oppose.
  • Two in five (39%) of those in Melbourne say the creation of new national parks in the central west would make them more likely to vote for a political party , while only 4% say it would make them less likely.
  • Six in seven (86%) of Melbournians support Victoria having a comprehensive network of national parks and conservation reserves across land and sea, and when asked even with the impact of COVID-19, three quarters (77%) of Melbournians support the Victorian Andrews Government creating new national parks in Victoria. 86% of ALP voters and 66% of Coalition voters support new parks even with COVID-19 impacts.
  • Distance is a factor for half of Melbournians, with 51% saying having parks less than 90 minutes drive (such as new Central West Parks, like wombat forest, near Woodend) would make them visit national parks more often.
  • Two thirds (67%) of Melbournians say walking tracks and trails would make difference (there are well established but under utilized walking tracks at Mt Cole and Wombat Forest, which are part of the proposed new parks in the central west). 55% highlight the value of natural features and 41% just liked being in the bush.
  • Most (58%) Melbournians believe the best use for Victoria’s three million hectares of publicly owned state forests is for the protection of wildlife, trees and nature, only 2% support native forest logging.