- 33% of respondents said deforestation was an important issue
- 63% of respondents aware of deforestation.
- Wilderness Society contacted more than 13,000 households during election campaign
The Labor Party’s and the Greens’ election pledges to end broadscale deforestation in Queensland proved a vote-winner, according to post-election polling of two Brisbane seats in which The Wilderness Society campaigned heavily on deforestation.
A third of voters said they were concerned about deforestation in Queensland and many of those changed their vote to the Greens and the Labor Party, according to post-election polling by Galaxy in the Brisbane seats of Mansfield and Mount Ommaney. Nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) of respondents said they were aware of deforestation in Queensland.
More than a quarter (26 per cent) of respondents who said they switched their vote to Labor from the last state election stated that reducing deforestation was a factor in their decision. And 62 per cent of respondents who switched their vote to the Greens said reducing deforestation was a factor in their vote.
Both seats were won by the ALP with a big swing of 4.8 per cent in Mount Ommaney and a 0.8 per cent swing in Mansfield. With LNP leader Tim Nicholls conceding defeat, the ALP now has a majority in the Queensland Parliament to introduce legislation to end broadscale deforestation in the state.
Wilderness Society volunteers telephoned more than 10,000 people and knocked on more than 3,500 doors in the electorates that fell to the Labor Party, which had promised to address the deforestation problem in Queensland. More than 80 community meetings were held and more than 35,000 people signed a petition calling for an end of deforestation.
Chris Brady, a 28-year-old carpenter from Toowong who volunteered to talk to voters about deforestation, said he was surprised that even LNP supporters were concerned about the issue.
“I’d never really done anything 'activist-y' or to protect the environment before this year, but when I heard about the deforestation in Queensland I decided to do something,” he said. “I never dreamt I’d meet and talk to so many people who are concerned about the same issues as me. What was particularly great was that the support was across traditional divides. I spoke to several people who identified as being One Nation or Liberal voters who said that the issue of deforestation was the biggest issue for them. I feel like Queenslanders are really coming together on this and I’m really proud to have been involved.”
Sam O’Brien, a 24-year-old volunteer from Annerley, said concern about deforestation was almost universal.
“I’ve spoken to hundreds of community members about deforestation across south-east Queensland,” he said. “The support has been overwhelming. Very few people support the current levels of deforestation. In fact, I struggle to think of one conversation I had where they did. I’m so glad I’ve been a part of opening people’s eyes to this crisis this election.”
Wilderness Society Queensland Campaign Manager Gemma Plesman said: “Deforestation is Queensland’s greatest hidden environmental crisis, and we found out, in the electorates, that it was a major concern for —including LNP supporters. The ALP needs to stick to its campaign promise and address deforestation in the first 100 days of governing.
“Deforestation kills millions of native animals, including koalas, impacts the Great Barrier Reef and adds to climate change.
“More than 1.2 million hectares of forest and bushland have been razed in just four years since the Newman-Nicholls LNP Government let loose the bulldozers on Queensland. Nearly 400,000ha was razed in 2015-16 alone, killing an estimated 45 million native animals including koalas—that’s one animal killed every second.
“Forty per cent of deforestation in 2015-16 happened in Great Barrier Reef catchments, threatening our already struggling natural treasure with muddier run-off and climate change.
“Nearly 45 million tonnes of greenhouse gases were released in 2015-16. That’s like adding more than 10 million cars to Australia’s already crowded roads.
“It’s time for the ALP to bring this shocking chapter in Queensland’s history to an end.”
For further comment contact:
- Wilderness Society Queensland Campaign Manager Gemma Plesman on 0423 044 431.
- Wilderness Society National Director Lyndon Schneiders on 0451 633 200.
- Wilderness Society Climate Campaign Manager Glenn Walker on 0422 247 029.
Click here for photos and video of Queensland deforestation and a briefing paper
For more information, contact Wilderness Society Media Adviser Alex Tibbitts on 0416 420 168.