Leaked QRC research shows massive public distrust of mining industry in QLD

Documents obtained by the Australia Institute shows that mining is experiencing a crisis in public trust among Queenslanders, with coal mining particularly unfavourable. 

The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) commissioned polling company Ipsos to conduct this research on the industry’s reputation because it has observed a “decline in positive (public) sentiment” about the QLD resource sector, and can see that “extending to governments with political support” and are “worried about reputation of QLD resources sector” overall.

“This research shows that ‘coal-loving Queensland’ is a powerful piece of political framing, but it doesn’t actually exist,” said Richard Denniss, Chief Economist for the Australia Institute.

“Like the Australian public, the mining industry knows that exaggerated claims about jobs just don’t work any more. The overwhelming majority of Australians want to tackle climate change and they simply don’t see a big future for coal in a low carbon future.”

“The longer the mining industry pretends that mining coal and tackling climate change go hand in hand the more trust the mining industry will lose. It’s not complicated.”

“This polling makes clear that the longer the mining industry continues to defend the central role of coal the more trust and credibility it will lose. Australia used to mine asbestos and hunt whales but at some point the mining and fishing industries decided to stop defending the indefensible. This polling suggests that even the mining industry knows the time to leave coal behind is not far away.”

“The Australian public aren’t anti-mining, but they are anti-spin and they are definitely anti-climate change. If the mining industry wants to rebuild trust with the community it needs to stop pretending that new coal mines have an important role to play in tackling climate change. No one believes such silly arguments,” said Richard Denniss.

Download a copy of the leaked report here:

Front page of document titled Queensland Resources Sector Reputation Deep Dive

Findings include:

  • The resources sector is nearing crisis in Queensland
  • The resources sector is viewed less favourably than both tourism and agriculture, and is seen to put these sectors with high levels of established goodwill at risk, further dmaging its reputation. 
  • The resources sector’s reputation is not as weak as the two sectors facing royal commission, banking and aged care but current levels of negative reputation, and views around a lack of regulation, should act as a warning to the sector.
  • The overall mood of the sector is COLD, CLINICAL, FLAT, SAD and NEGATIVE
  • Coal mining and ‘dirty’ open cut coal mines are the dominant images when thinking about the resources sector
  • Wealth is strongly associated with self-interest, power and influence, the profits that the resources sector generates are considered short-term and benefittingfew at the expense of the ‘rest of the country’ and at ‘the cost of our futures’
  • The ability to influence political agendas, the ‘damage’ that companies are perceived to ‘walk away from’ and the incomes available…create a perception the industry is all about wealth and money
  • Renewable energy and sustainability are top of mind and seen as a future we should all be embracing. The rhetoric of the resources sector being unsustainable, and its strong association with coal and traditional energy leaves it vulnerable to attack and there is no established counter narrative to counter this.

Full report