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Press Release

Cleaner environment tops the list so far as the biggest challenge facing Australia‟s future

March 15, 2012

Affordable housing, mental illness, drug use and marriage equality highlighted as challenges in Melbourne

Australian icons have their say on the country‟s future

Melbourne, 15 March 2012: Climate Change, The Economy and Government Leadership are the top challenges facing Australia according to early results of GE‟s country-wide poll to uncover Australia‟s greatest challenges.

GE‟s Two Words for Tomorrow campaign launched today in Melbourne with a four metre high „word waterfall‟ and polling booths in Federation Square. The campaign asks Australians to submit their two words that sum up the biggest challenge facing the country‟s future.

Already more than 1,200 results have been received, and indicative entries from Melbourne and Victoria more broadly have revealed

  • The biggest challenge for those in Melbourne city is cleaner environment followed by strong economy and government leadership
  • In outer metro areas and regional Victoria, the biggest challenge is government leadership
  • After cleaner environment, strong economy and government leadership: Women in Melbourne city are concerned about affordable housing and access to quality healthcare, with mental illness highlighted as a specific challenge
  • In comparison, men in Melbourne city are concerned with challenges related to drug use and lifestyle, with marriage equality and gay rights highlighted as specific challenges for those men aged 30 and under
  • Religious harmony was highlighted as a challenge by both sexes

The top five challenges identified nationally so far are:

1. Clean Environment

2. Strong Economy

3. Government Leadership

4. Immigration Policy

5. Australian Lifestyle

Reflecting on the early results, GE's Joanne Woo said: "We want to understand what's important to people in Melbourne, and it's fantastic to see some locally relevant challenges starting to come through. It's important that everyone has a say in our country'sfuture, both at a national and local level. We encourage people to go online or visit us in Federation Square to get involved."

GE will be sharing the results with the country‟ decision makers and use them to inform its local business efforts to help build a better future for Australia.

The polling booths will be in Melbourne until Friday night before moving to Brisbane, Perth and Sydney, and people can also have their say online at

A host of Australian icons have already submitted their words highlighting the challenges they are passionate about:

Cricket legend, Kerry O'Keeffe -- "Greater Awareness"
Former Australian cricketer and ABC cricket commentator Kerry said: "Greater awareness is an important aspect that we as Australians must address. The "it'll be all right mate" sentimentality often translates into inaction and Australia, if it is to have a more exciting future, must act on issues that stop us maximising our potential. We must be more aware of educational needs, of how we can better compete internationally in every sphere - be it business, sport or general standard of living. If something has to be done in the national interest, often our inbred conservatism stymies action."

Australian Olympic Swimmer, Matt Targett -- "Food Rules"
Matt Targett will represent Australia in the pool at the London Olympics and said: "As an Olympic swimmer, I have lived the adage that „ou only get out what you put in‟ I'm passionate about food and encouraging those around me to eat healthy and delicious meals. I've become involved with a project with the Archerfish Foundation that's about helping people make better choices about what they eat. We need to understand the issues preventing some Australians from having a healthy diet. The next step is finding innovative and effective ways of tackling these issues."

Young Australian of the Year 2012, Marita Cheng -- "Technology Entrepreneurship"
2012 Young Australian of the year Marita Cheng has done a lot of work to increase technology and engineering skills in Australia and said: "Technology entrepreneurship is something that we don't currently have enough of in Australia. To remain internationally competitive I think it's important that we strive to increase engineering and technology education in Australia and encourage young people to use their technical skills to produce Australian high-tech companies."

Australian Olympian, Nicola Zagame -- "Active Lifestyle"
Nicola Zagame will represent Australia at the London Olympics as part of the Australian Water Polo team aiming for gold. Perhaps unsurprisingly, her two words are „ctive Lifestyle‟ She said: "Getting out and being active is so important for people of all ages as regular exercise can help boost your energy, maintain your independence, manage the symptoms of illness and promote good sleep. Exercise is good for all dimensions of your health- for your body, mind, memory, and mood."

Words will be categorised into themes with the results available in real-time and searchable by gender, age and location to provide clear insights into what Australians think are the biggest challenges for the country‟ future.

Have your say today at

About Two Words for Tomorrow Campaign:

Australians can share their Two Words For Tomorrow through a dedicated website, or via a Facebook app, interactive polling banners and widgets on popular news websites. People can also visit a unique installation located at prominent locations in Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and Sydney. The first installation will launch in Melbourne‟ Federation Square on 15 March and will roll out across Australia during April and May. The online component of the campaign launches on 8 March across social media platforms.

Installation tour dates and locations:

  • Melbourne, St Paul‟ Court, Federation Square: Thursday 15 and Friday 16 March 2012
  • Perth, Murray St Mall: April
  • Brisbane, Reddacliff Place: May
  • Sydney, Martin Place: May

Joanne Woo
Corporate Communications Director, Australia & New Zealand
[email protected]
+61 409 330 731

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