What Makes Australia’s Most Liveable City Best?

What Makes Australia’s Most Liveable City Best?

A survey of 5,200 Australians suggests that Adelaide is our “most liveable city”, followed by Canberra and Melbourne. But what factors make a place liveable, and how can individual cities improve?

Picture by Cimexus

The survey by the Property Council of Australia asked Australians to rank their cities based on 17 key criteria. (This puts in a different category to last year’s global Mercer survey on quality of life, which gave top ranking to Sydney.)

What Makes Australia’s Most Liveable City Best?

The key thing to note is that a top score of 64 and just 6.3 points between the top-ranked and bottom-ranked city, there’s a lot of room for improvement in every single city. The factors which dragged down the results the most? Affordable quality housing (with a 34 per cent average city approval rate across the country), environmental sustainability (37 per cent), traffic problems (41 per cent) and public transport (42 per cent). But individual cities showed wide variation across the full range of issues assessed, and in terms of how important residents perceived them to be.

These are the 17 factors considered in the report:

[block] [left] •Urban design •Cleanliness/lack of pollution •Outdoor recreation environments •Dining and entertainment options •Public transport •Road network •Personal and property safety •Attractive natural environment •Environmental policy [/left] [right] •Education facilities •Healthcare services •Quality affordable housing •Balance of housing types •Employment and business opportunities •Standard of living •Climate •Diverse and harmonious population[/left] [/right] [/block]

Which ones do you think matter the most, and how would you improve them? Share your thoughts in the comments. (For Sydney, I’d like to see properly integrated public transport, but I’m not holding my breath. Well, except to avoid the traffic fumes.)

Property Council of Australia


  • These kinds of surveys are stupid and irrelevant, in that I am sure there are parts of Adelaide that are far worse than the better parts of Darwin. i.e. It is too general. I’ve lived in Sydney my whole life and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. By the same token, I’ve lived in the Northern Suburbs for all of that time and would never consider living south of the Bridge, either. Or in the north-west, or south-west or outer west. To lump it all in together and call it just “Sydney” is stupid.

    • It’s the “I ’ve lived in Sydney my whole life and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else” type of thinking that makes these surveys meaningless. How can you begin to rate aspects of your life if you’ve got no point of reference? The same applies to many of the “Oz is the best country on the planet – oi oi oi” brigade too.

    • So basically, NIMBY. I’ve lived in Sydney my whole life but I’ve been around and would readily say the city isn’t perfect. Our house prices are outrageous, our roads are a complete mess, recreation (mostly dining) could be better and not so hoighty-toighty.

      I love Sydney, at times it might be shit but it’s my shit dammit.

  • Frankly, these lump-sum statistics are absolutely useless to individuals. Without going into details, every city is different in every aspect. To have these statistics be of any use, they need to be left individually separate so they can be properly compared in their respective areas.

    That said, as a Canberran, I can now tell the wife (Melbournian) she’s wrong about Melbourne being #1.

    • No you can’t. This result was based on a survey of Australians, under 6 thousand. The results of the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Liveability Survey in which Melbourne polled #1 was voted by over 23 thousand international participants.

    • I’ve never understood why so many people consider adelaide boring. 95% of anything there is to do in any other city you can do here too so I don’t know where that idea even comes from.

      Still, it doesn’t bother me. I’m a uni student on youth allowance and I can afford to live in a pretty nice flat 10 minute walk from uni and the city no problems whatsoever. Don’t think I’d be managing that in Melbourne or Sydney… maybe I could get a place a half hour train ride away.

  • There is no way that 48% of Brisbane residents believe their city has a good public transport service. Nor is there any chance the percentage has actually *increased* in the past year.

  • Having lived in Brisbane, Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, and a few smaller cities along the east cost, and having spent a reasonable amount of time in Canberra, Darwin, Perth, and some central Australian towns… I can only assume that the Adelaide survey respondents were biased / paid to lie. And I can only assume that the Canberra results were blatantly falsified.

    There’s a reason why nobody is actually /from/ Canberra and why everyone living there is just chasing a career opportunity until they advance far enough to go live somewhere else. It’s the dullest place on earth. And while I suspect Adelaide is lovely if you’re a religious penguin – anyone with a personality is counting down the days to their next trip somewhere that’s not Adelaide.

    Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane make sense for their ratings in my experience. And I’m frankly surprised that Darwin scored as well as it did.

  • My girlfriend moved over from SA last year and the first thing she says to anyone who complains about Melbourne’s public transport system is “wow. if they tried using public transport in SA, they’d shit bricks.”

  • I moved to Melbourne from Christchurch. I had the whole country to pick from and despite having family in Sydney I chose Melbourne. Very happy with the choice, easy to get work, find somewhere to live, always something on, the weather is great and the public transport is alright (mostly). The best bit is nobody seems to notice or care about your accent!

  • The study never explained why it chose its cities? Why aren’t Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast chosen? They can’t say spatial independence of Bris vegas , as Wollongong and Newcastle are at comparable distances to Sydney. Same question with Geelong and Toowoomba.

    Also why not Cairns/Townsville? Its not for lack of population as they trump Darwin.

  • Perth should be a lot lower down, yes it is liveable, but sometimes it aint. Especially if you happen to not be on the same dollars as the miners, as just about everything that is a general consumable is overly inflated. For example, Coffee, Beer, Mixes etc when your out and about. But hey get you get used to it!… I think.

  • An absolutely pointless survey. It’s likely that only people from overseas might consider the given criteria. People live in the cities they’re in because of work, to be close to the support of family and friends and often because that’s just where they happened to get born. Would anyone really move to another city because it had better public transport?

  • Adelaide isn’t boring, It’s only the people who think it is because that every second building isn’t a nightclub . Sydney may have loads of clubs, but it has a massive crime rate and I personally wouldn’t like to live somewhere where druggies coming out of clubs at all hours mug andnrape you.

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