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PwC Australia’s Citizen Survey 2020

Driving citizen-led transformation

The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally shifted our 'normal', disrupting our lives, work and communities. And with it, the role of government. We have seen accelerated change in citizen expectations, with trust significantly increasing over the past few years.

So, how does the Government continue to build trust and maintain momentum during pandemic recovery? What will shape the Government of the future in Australia? It all lies in responsiveness and keeping citizens at the core of every decision. A responsive government builds trust through personalising citizen experiences and consistently makes rapid, cost-effective decisions in times of uncertainty and creates a platform for growth and recovery.

Download findings

During the bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic, Australians relied on governments to protect their core human needs such as safety and security. Our recent Citizen Survey conducted by our Centre for Citizen Research indicates that this has altered the nature of the relationship between governments and citizens. Explore the key findings below:

Impacts of COVID-19

Australian citizens have experienced considerable stress in the past three months

Nearly 4 in 10 Australians say they are stressed about financial stability and job security.

With 18-24 year olds 2x more likely to have been stood down or lost their jobs compared to the general population, and only half feel optimistic about their future.

But overall, there is increased confidence that the economy will bounce back quickly (37% Australians felt this way in October 2020 compared to 32% in June).

Citizen trust

Trust in government institutions has significantly increased, driven by responsiveness to citizen needs

The proportion of Australians placing high trust in Australian government institutions has risen significantly over the last few years from 18% in 2018 to 45% in June 2020 and 46% in October 2020.

However, trust among some cohorts has declined:

  • With 18-24 year olds, high trust in government institutions has declined 14% from June to October 2020
  • Among culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) citizens, trust has declined 9% from June to October 2020

Citizen experiences

The use of digital channels is rising however data security remains a concern

37% of Australian respondents say their use of digital channels has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

However comfort levels with sharing data remain low. Only 1 in 3 say they are respondents comfortable sharing their data online instead of attending government services in person and only 38% are willing to trade their personal data privacy for easier access to government services.


of Australians surveyed said their mental wellbeing has been negatively impacted by the lack of in-person interactions during COVID-19


of Australians surveyed place high trust in Australian government institutions, rising significantly since 2018 where it was only 18%


of Australians surveyed say their use of digital channels has increased during COVID-19

Government Matters

Government Matters is PwC's government-focused publication. This publication will showcase the incredible work that both politicians and public servants are doing in this country to deliver value to citizens. 

At the same time we hope to demonstrate that important problems are better solved together. PwC is a powerful multiplier of connections and innovation. We bring technology and passionate people together so that insights become impact, opportunities become outcomes and society benefits.

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Contact us

Diane Rutter

Diane Rutter

Consulting Diversity & Inclusion Lead and Customer Experience Lead, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 431 164 710

Adam Lai

Adam Lai

Partner, Marketing, Sales & Service GTM Leader, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 400 435 621