SYDNEY: Australians place greater trust in business than the global average, according to local results of a worldwide survey, and they trust technology firms most of all.

While trust in business globally fell to 54% this year, the Edelman Global Trust Barometer report found Australia bucked the trend and was one of nine countries to report an increase in trust in business from 43% last year to 56%, AdNews reported.

The same proportion also expressed trust in government, significantly ahead of the global average of 44%, the PR consultancy found, although only 40% trust Australian government leaders to tell the truth.

Mirroring the views of respondents in the other 26 countries surveyed (27,000 people in total), Australians also rated technology brands as the most trusted.

Tech firms received a 73% approval rating in Australia, compared to a global average of 79%, but the automotive sector fared less well.

Whereas automotive was the second most trusted business sector globally (at 70%), it ranked seventh in Australia, superseded by electronic manufacturing, brewing, food and drink, entertainment and consumer packaged goods.

Despite the strong showing for technology firms, Edelman Australia CEO Michelle Hutton warned them not to follow in the footsteps of the banking industry by taking their "meteoric" rise for granted.

With issues like privacy and data becoming a growing concern, she advised technology firms to engage more with consumers to avoid the same mistrust banks have received over recent years.

In a wider message for the business community, she said: "It has typically fallen under the remit of government to create the context for change. Today, people expect businesses to play a bigger role in shaping a positive future."

The report also revealed that family-owned and small to medium enterprises (SMEs) are the most trusted ventures in Australia – at 76% and 67% respectively – while only 43% expressed trust in "big business".

And only 23% of Australians said they trust Chinese businesses even though China is Australia's largest bilateral trading partner.

Data sourced from AdNews; additional content by Warc staff