Australia's image takes hit after bushfires over lack of climate action

A photograph of Australia's Parliament House with a huge plume of bushfire smoke rising in the distance.
26 December 2020

Australia's reputation took a significant hit with its main trading partners after the Black Summer fires owing in part to perceptions of climate policy, an Austrade survey reveals.

"The belief that the fires were still burning (at the time of the survey in February) and perceived ineffective disaster management practices and inaction on climate change were also contributing to negative perceptions of Australia," Austrade's Global Sentiment Monitor report found.

Austrade, Australia’s trade and investment promotion agency, said the biggest reputational impacts came in south-east Asia, with 31 per cent of people surveyed in China forming a worse perception of Australia due to the fires; the survey results were 27 per cent for South Korea, 20 per cent for Japan and 15 per cent for Indonesia.

In the US the bushfires spurred a worse perception among 13 per cent of people, and 18 per cent in Britain.

Read the full article on The Sydney Morning Herald website, featuring research co-produced by scientists at The Australian National University