Australian’s know how important mining is to the economy but more needs to be done to secure their trust, a new report by the CSIRO has found.
In the survey of 5,121 people, Australians consider that mining is worthwhile once all the associated benefits were taken into account.
It said the community is widely accepting of mining but shows a social licence to operate is fragile and subject to the impacts of mining and how the benefits are shared.
“Australians across mining, non-mining and metropolitan regions strongly agreed that mining contributes significantly to the economy, to the standard of living, to our way of life and our future prosperity. Those surveyed in each group also generally agreed that mining creates jobs, opportunities and infrastructure in regions,” lead researcher Dr Moffat said.
“There are however relatively strong community perceptions that mining impacts negatively on the environment, water quality, agriculture, climate change and the health of local communities.”
Job creation was seen as the most important benefit mining contributed while general benefits for regional and Indigenous communities were also seen as high on the priority list.
Those surveyed expressed mid-range levels of trust in state and federal governments, the industry and non-government organisations and a below mid-range rating of the capacity of governments or legislation to keep the industry accountable.
“The work indicates that Australians trust and accept the industry more when the industry hears and is responsive to their concerns, when benefits from mining are shared equitably, and when the legislative and regulatory frameworks we have in place provide confidence that industry will do the right thing,” Moffat said.
Moffat said the mining industry needs to work with governments, stakeholders and the wider community to build and acceptance and a trust.