4626.0.55.001 - Environmental views and behaviour, 2007-08 (2nd issue) Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 18/06/2009   
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June 18, 2009
Embargoed: 11.30 am (AEST)

Australians concerned about water shortages and climate change: ABS

Australians have confirmed that water shortages and climate change are the biggest environmental issues facing us, according to a survey of environmental views released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The survey found that nine in ten Australians are concerned by water shortages, and three-quarters are concerned about climate change.

Just over half (55%) of all Australians thought that their water use had decreased in the year leading up to the survey. The primary reasons for decreased water use were trying to conserve water (76%) and water restrictions (42%).

When it comes to climate change, people in the Australian Capital Territory showed the highest levels of concern (eight in ten people concerned), while the Northern Territory had the lowest (seven in ten).

The survey also found that men and women thought differently about climate change, with one-quarter of all men and one-fifth of all women 'not concerned about climate change'.

Nine in ten people reported that they took steps to limit their electricity use in the year prior to the survey; nearly half (47%) reported that they thought their personal electricity use had decreased, with a similar proportion (45%) reporting that their personal electricity use had not changed.

About half of all Australians believed the natural environment was declining, with four in ten Australians reporting the condition of the natural environment in Australia was neither good nor bad.

However, only about one-third had some form of environmental involvement in the 12 months prior to the survey. The most commonly reported environmental activity undertaken was signing a petition relating to any environmental issues (17% of all people), followed by donating money to help protect the environment (14%). One in ten people expressed concern about the environment through a letter, email or by talking to responsible authorities.

Further details are available in Environmental Views and Behaviour, 2007-08 (cat. no. 4626.0.55.001).