Pandemic’s effect on Australian economy more worrying for citizens than health

Australians more concerned about economy than health in coronavirus pandemic

The impact of the virus is also being felt at a community level, with around 41 per cent of people polled saying they had faced food and grocery shortages in shops in the week prior to the study.

One-in-four said they were avoiding shaking hands or staying at home, while nearly one in five were spending less than they usually did. About 8 per cent reported that they have had their income reduced.

“At this point in the pandemic, Australians believe their financial health may be at greater risk than their personal health and they want a measured approach that limits the financial damage from this issue,” Newgate Research managing director Sue Vercoe said.

The majority of Australians (56 per cent) said the overall response to the pandemic was at an appropriate level, with the remainder split about whether the government was overreacting (24 per cent) or not taking the issue seriously enough (20 per cent).

About 38 per cent of Australians believed Prime Minister Scott Morrison was doing an excellent or good job, while 26 per cent think his performance has been fair.

Specific concerns about the impacts of the virus included the impacts on jobs and employment (66 per cent), the share market and superannuation (56 per cent) and flow-on affects to local businesses.

The survey found the community believes the virus spread will get worse in one month, however, 58 per cent said they believed it would be better in 12 months.

And while 78 per cent of Australians believed the economy would get worse in one month, only 32 per cent believed it will be better in 12 months.

The majority of Australia think the nation’s health system was responding well to COVID-19, with 55 per cent rating it as “excellent” or “good”, 27 per cent rating it “fair” with only 12 per cent rating it “poor” or “very poor”.

About 67 per cent were “extremely” or “quite” concerned about regular health services not being available, one of the biggest concerns identified in the overall survey.


“This suggests the federal and state governments’ communication efforts will need to be aimed at maintaining confidence in the ability of the health system to cope,” Ms Vercoe said.

Two-thirds of Australians are concerned about Australia potentially entering a recession, with 31 per cent are “extremely” and 32 per cent “quite” concerned about infections and deaths across the community.

About 63 per cent of Australians are increasingly worried about inconsiderate or violent behaviour in the community linked with shortages of food, toilet paper and other essentials.

Rob Harris is the National Affairs Editor for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, based at Parliament House in Canberra

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