Aussies over-estimating role of mining in economy: survey

AUSTRALIANS have a warped perception of how much the mining sector or service industry contribute to the national economy, results from a 1000-person survey were revealed.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions had Empirica Research speak to 1013 people about aspects of the economy including questions on how much welfare payments should be, and how much of Australia's economy was thanks to mining.

The results found not only was the country over-estimating the role of mining, it was unreasonably suspicious of welfare recipients.

On average, responders suggested about 17% of those on welfare were defrauding the system.

The actual figure was less than 1%.

People felt mining contributed about 38% to the economy, a fair distance from the real 10%.

They also underestimated the value of service industries which they felt delivered just 33% of Australia's value, when it was closer to 60%.

ACTU President Ged Kearney said it was surprising to find people's perceptions of the mining industry's importance to the national economy were vastly exaggerated.

The research was presented as part of the ACTU's two-day National Community Summit in Canberra which will finish on Thursday.