The 2020 Edelman Australia Trust Barometer has revealed that despite a near full employment, Australians do not trust any of the four institutions measured: government, business, media and NGOs.
According to the research, the national bushfire crisis has sparked a dramatic decline in trust, from an all-time high of 68 points to 59 points, a nine-point drop in just three months.
“Australia’s informed public saw a severe breakdown of trust from the government in response to the recent bushfire catastrophes. This should have been an opportunity to unite the nation and build security, but instead, the lack of empathy, authenticity and communications crushed trust across the country,” said Edelman Australia CEO Michelle Hutton.
Getting things done
As a result, the data revealed that business is the only institution seen as competent, holding a 56-point edge over government.
Australians agree that businesses have the ability to get things done — a key factor in competence — citing generating value for its owners (56 per cent), driving economic prosperity (46 per cent) and leading innovation (43 per cent) as areas they do best in.
CEOs are expected to lead change, with 86 per cent of Australians expecting them to speak out on societal issues and a further 78 per cent believing CEOs should not wait for the government to impose change.
The changes Aussies want to see are mostly linked to the environment, with 89 per cent of the population citing the bushfires, droughts, water shortage and global warming among their top concerns.
Across the board, people believe that cross-institutional partnership is the pathway for change.
“Overwhelmingly, our supplementary study showed people are looking to government and business to partner on vital issues of the moment.
“Listening to stakeholder concerns and partnering together to achieve a common goal is this year a key theme across institutions, but with Australians not able to see their ability or willingness to do this in a meaningful way.”
Ms Hutton concluded: “The new decade marks an opportunity for our institutions to step up, take action and lead on key issues that will unite Australians and instill hope for the future.”