Australians’ top concerns remain mostly economic but concern around healthcare is returning

The Ipsos Issues Monitor is Australia’s longest running ongoing survey of community concerns.

We’ve checked-in with 1,000 Australians each month for more than a decade to understand what is worrying them.

As we noted last month, concerns over the first half of 2020 rapidly jumped from the Environment (41% in January), to Healthcare (55% in April), then The Economy (53% in May) as we moved from bushfires and flooding to the health and economic emergencies arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only did we see the changes occur in the issue of most concern, but we also saw the magnitude of these concerns reach record levels. While not reaching the top issue, unemployment also hit record levels of concern (43%) in May and June.

The latest Ipsos Issues Monitor was fielded in the first week of the July, heading into the fourth month since COVID-19 restrictions first came into force. This was a time of growing positivity with low or non-existent new infections and restrictions being eased. Many Australians were experiencing the green shoots of life returning to something remotely resembling normality and the pandemic remained a predominantly economic crisis.

At the same time, we were reminded the pandemic situation was still a health crisis.  Infection rates were growing in other counties including the United States and Victoria was in the early stages of a growing spike in cases. The lockdown of nine public housing estates in Melbourne’s inner-north began late in the survey period but a further six weeks of restrictions in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchel Shire had not yet been re-introduced. 

In July, Australians’ main concerns have remained stable with The Economy (48%) and Unemployment (41%) retaining the top two places with only minor reductions in each (-1pt and -2pts) since June. Healthcare (29%) has rebounded (+5pts) from its record low in June to be the third most important issue. Cost of living sits fourth, remaining relatively unchanged at 25% and the top five issues is completed by Crime (22%) which is back to similar levels to that observed in late 2019 (+4pts since June). Concerns around the Environment (19%) continue to drop (-1pt since June), taking it back to levels last seen at the end of 2018.

Click here to download the previous Ipsos Issues Monitor COVID 19 June Edition.