With both cost of living and climate action featuring prominently in both state and federal budgets a fortnight back, you would be forgiven for thinking Mark McGowan and Jim Chalmers had been given an advance copy of Deloitte’s recent global survey.
Published last week, Deloitte’s survey of 22,000 millennials and Gen Z’s across 44 countries found cost of living, unemployment and climate change to be the top three societal concerns for these younger cohorts.
Deloitte found about two thirds of the young people they spoke to were anxious about the environment and had taken active steps to reduce their environmental impact. This included a willingness to pay more for sustainable products. However, most of this group said they were worried they wouldn’t be able to afford to do so, if the economic situation doesn’t improve.
These results highlight the importance of being able to walk and chew gum at the same time on the economy and climate. Fortunately, with the cost of new renewables now cheaper than new fossil fuel alternatives in many settings, this is getting easier.
But the data also raises the question over the environmental impact, let alone the social cost, of Australia’s comparatively low Austudy, youth allowance and jobseeker rates.
With every passing day increasing the political power of millennials and Gen Z’s, I suspect we’ll be talking about this again during budget season next year.
This article also appeared in The West Australian newspaper.