Australia has again performed consistently across a number of attributes in the Global Soft Power Index, with a top ten ranking for familiarity and reputation. Overall, the country’s Soft Power score has improved by 1.9 points this year, a cumulative increase of 5.7 points since 2020.
With the world re-opening after COVID, merely standing still causes a relative fall in performance. Australia continues to perform well for Business and Trade underpinned by a strong and stable economy, while enjoying an enviable reputation as being a great place to visit. A more attractive tax structure for business investment will help alleviate the decline in future growth potential. In these areas, Australia’s absolute score improved, but relative ranking decreased due to bigger improvements by other nations.
Aligned with Australia’s status as attractive place to do business, the country is recognised for its governance, during a period of high global political instability, in terms of being perceived to be relatively well governed with high ethical standards. This extends to favourable perceptions towards media and communication, with a 5th place ranking for being ‘easy to communicate with’.
The gradual return to international travel has witnessed a pickup in several areas covered under ‘Culture and Heritage’ and ‘People and Values’. Strong preventative measures along with a strict quarantine approach to the pandemic had previously created negative perceptions in terms of restrictions in movement and impact on the economy. This year has seen an uptick in that Australia is viewed very favourably as a great place to visit with an appealing lifestyle. Strong investment in tourism should see Australia’s reputation in these categories continue to rise. In particular a return to previous international student numbers should be an imperative, especially when Australia is highly respected for its strong educational system.
Conversely, Australia’s lowest rankings under ‘Culture and Heritage’ are for attributes pertaining to a rich heritage and food the world loves.
While Australia is perceived favourably for protection of the environment, despite a strong reliance on exporting natural resources including fossil fuels, there is an opportunity for Australia to take a lead role in developing sustainable cities and investment in green energy.
Australia continues to enjoy an enviable well-earned reputation across many Soft Power attributes. A more attractive investment environment along with a concerted effort to further lift scores where Australia has traditional strength should facilitate a return to being a top ten ranked nation brand.