6 April, 2016

Most people think the coal industry is doing NSW more harm than good

The results are a significant blow to the Baird government and the fossil fuel industries in NSW, which have mounted propaganda campaigns to build support for unpopular coal and coal seam gas projects.

ReachTEL conducted the survey on March 14 this year to test community attitudes to the coal and coal seam gas industries in NSW, and to the Baird governments management of the sector.

KEY FINDINGS 

  • For the first time, most people think coal does NSW more harm than good. Today, more than 56% of people say coal mining is having a negative impact on NSW communities, while 44% say it is having a positive impact. This result is the reverse of the results of the survey in 2013, and represents a very significant shift in community attitudes.
  • More people want environmental protections from coal and CSG now than in 2014. The solid majority that wanted farmland, water and the environment protected from coal and CSG in 2014 (74%) has increase significantly to 84%. This shift has occurred despite the government’s assurances it is properly managing these matters (for example, through the Gas Plan, CSG licence buybacks, etc.)
  • Premier Mike Baird hasn’t done enough to stop environmental harm from coal and CSG. 62% of people think Premier Baird still has not done enough to protect farmland, water and the environment from coal and CSG. This is despite two years of government propaganda, policy tweaking, CSG buybacks, and advertising campaigns by the coal sector (Coal is Amazing).

Nature Conservation Council CEO Kate Smolski said: “People want this damaging industry brought to heel, but the Baird government is clearing the way for its expansion. Mr Baird has already approved 398 million tonnes of coal extraction, and is considering proposals for a further 727 million tonnes. (See attached spreadsheet).

“Where is Mr Baird’s plan to end our dependence on coal and move NSW towards the modern energy future the people want?”

“Despite years of government propaganda, policy tweaking, coal sector advertising campaigns, as well as ongoing support from aggressively pro-mining sections of the media, the great majority of people still think Premier Baird has not done enough to protect farmland, water and the environment from coal and CSG.

“Given the depth of community feeling on this issue, and the harm that coal and CSG projects are doing, the government must create coal and gas no-go zones on productive farmlands, drinking water catchments, near communities and in special natural areas.”

OVERVIEW RESULTS 

Indicator

2013/14 - 2016

56.5% of people think coal and CSG have, on balance, a negative impact on communities.

+9.5%

84.1% of people think farmland, water and the environment needs protection from coal and CSG

+10.1%

62% or people think Baird has done too little to protect farmland, water and the environment from coal and CSG

-6.0%

 

Question: Do you think New South Wales farmland, water and environment need protecting from the impacts of coal mining and coal seam gas fracking?

Year

Yes %

No %

Other %

2014

74

10

14

2016

84.1

7.9

8

Change

+10.1

-2.1

-6

 

Question: Do you think Premier Mike Baird has done enough to protect New South Wales farmland, water and environment from the impact of coal mining and coal seam gas fracking?

Year

Yes %

No %

Other %

2014

13

68

19

2016

15.5

62

22.5

Change

+2.5

-6

+3.5

 

Question: On balance, do you think the coal mining industry having a positive or negative impact on New South Wales communities?

Year

Total positive

Total negative

2013

53

47

2016

43.5

56.5

Change

-9.5

+9.5

 

Question: On balance, do you think the coal mining industry having a positive or negative impact on New South Wales communities?

Year

Very positive

Somewhat positive

Somewhat negative

Very negative

2013

8

45

37

10

2016

13.8

29.7

32.7

23.8

Change

+5.8

-15.3

-4.3

+13.8

 

Supporting documents 

Comparison of the 2013-14 and 2016 polls.

2016 ReachTEL polling.

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