Bastion Insights report: Melbourne claims the title as the most locked in city in the world, and Victorians pay the price on many levels
As extended lockdowns continue across Australia’s two biggest states, the latest national research by Bastion shows a tail of two cities. NSW residents have regained optimism and have a clear path out, while Victoria continues to face uncertainty. With Victoria having gained the unwanted title of the longest locked-down city in the world, it is not surprising that survey results show Victorians have lower levels of life satisfaction, greatest levels of anxiety and higher use of mental health plans than residents of any other state.
Says Dianne Gardiner, executive director of Bastion Insights and author of the survey over the last 18 months: “Victorians have endured so much more than any other state through COVID, it’s not surprising to see these results. The question is, what are the long-term impacts of this?”
While mental health has been challenged throughout the pandemic it has also heightened discussions of mental health and that it is OK to say you’re not OK. As of October 4th, Melbourne is now the most locked-down of any city in the world, so it is not surprising that Victorians have also exhibited more anxiety throughout the pandemic than residents of any other state. They also are more likely to have accessed a mental health plan than residents in any other state.
The good news is there are signs Australians are ready to spend big. Australians are seemingly ready to treat themselves this Christmas with planned Christmas spending up 27% on last year. And with vaccine targets in place, Australians are again planning their travel, locally and further afield. Let’s hope this is the boost Australian businesses need at the end of a very long 2021.
While vaccination rates have been heralded as a pass to freedom, many Australians continue to feel COVID is going to impact their lives significantly for a long time yet (46% say it will be 2024 or beyond).
Australians are becoming more accepting of vaccination passports in order to participate in certain activities and also have expectations of being informed of staff vaccination status in certain situations.
Says Gardiner: “The employer mandatory vaccine debate brings up several issues, including how do national employers cater for state differences. Either way, the issue is likely to force confrontation over coming weeks / months, like those we have seen in Victoria over the last month. COVID has already had a dramatic impact on workforce movements, and it is yet to be seen how vaccine mandates may further impact this.”
With our two biggest states in long lockdowns and state borders having been lockdown for months, there is no doubt once restrictions ease, many people are eager to travel. Despite Victorians having no clear roadmap out of lockdown (at the time of the survey), Victorians are more ready than any other state to embrace travel and get out of their state!
Adds Gardiner:“What we don’t yet know is how quickly will Australians embrace overseas travel but, indications are there are many who will jump at the chance, especially once it becomes clear where and how fully vaccinated can travel freely.”
Australians are ready to hit the stores and treat themselves and others to some Christmas joy. With just over twelve weeks to Christmas to go it appears some Australians are ready to spend up big for Christmas this year, especially those in VIC and NSW who have been in long lockdowns. Retail therapy here they come!