Positive sentiment is on the rise about both Australia’s strategy to constrain coronavirus and the outlook for the economy, as Australians this week started to see glimmers of hope amid lockdown and restrictions. Public anxiety about the virus appears to be plateauing and Australians’ optimism about the future appears to be returning to the level of six long weeks ago before the crisis in Victoria unfolded.
Our 23rd weekly tracker of 1,208 people, conducted Monday 10 August – Wednesday 12 August, shows:
Consistent with last week, around two in three people (65%) mentioned coronavirus as a key issue facing Australia without being prompted. When prompted, 83% were “extremely” or “quite” concerned about coronavirus but for the first time in eight weeks, this measure has declined (86% last week). Concern about a “second wave” has also eased with 78% now “extremely” or “quite” concerned about it compared to 82% last week.
However, 62% are now “extremely” or “quite” concerned about the quality of healthcare services – significantly higher than 52% five weeks ago. Concern about the quality of aged care meanwhile stabilised at 72% (it was 73% last week) although it also remains higher than it was four weeks ago (60%).
Across many measures there is evidence that the community wants Government to stay the course with its precautionary approach. A large majority continue to agree that the restrictions are fair and reasonable (81% agree) and that Government is taking appropriate measures to protect people’s health (78%). Some 47% of participants reported wearing a mask in the past 7 days, up from 43% last week and just 18% four weeks ago. That includes 83% of Victorians and 59% of NSW residents compared to 35% of those in other states. For the first time this week, the number one piece of advice respondents had for government was to “encourage safety precautions” and there continues to be minimal support for border openings or mass events.
This week has also seen an increase in agreement that the Government is taking appropriate measures to protect Australian businesses (72% up from 68%), reversing declines in agreement over the previous two weeks in the wake of highly anticipated changes to JobKeeper.