The results stem from a 2020 survey of 5358 Australians, ranging in age, gender and backgrounds, to gauge their attitudes toward rural industries.
It was pleasing to note that, of the community members surveyed, about 80 per cent identified their area of residence as the city, metropolitan or suburban regions.
And most strongly supported Australia’s rural industries.
It also appears that COVID-19 has heightened the largely city-based community’s appreciation for, and trust in, our rural industries.
Overall, the project found rural industries remain an essential part of our economic strength and national story.
Due to new measures added to the latest research, we noted a trend for community members wanting to build connections with farmers, fishers and foresters through the food and fibre they purchase and use.
These products have power well beyond material value, as they help to forge a genuine relationship between wider community members and rural industries.
In terms of environmental stewardship, the performance of rural industries in managing environmental impacts remained the strongest driver of community trust.
The metropolitan community also endorsed the view that environmental management is a shared responsibility across all rural industries.
Through the survey, we explored in more detail the role that city-based community members saw themselves playing in this shared environmental responsibility.
Almost two-thirds – or 62.4 per cent – of respondents agreed they had a role to play in managing the environmental impact of our rural industries.
More than half – or 52.2pc – agreed they were willing to shift their consumption habits to sustainably-produced products, even if these were more expensive.