Canberra Is Australia’s Most Liveable City

Canberra is Australia’s most liveable city according to the Property Council of Australia’s My City: The People’s Verdict report, nudging out Adelaide for the top spot for the first time in four years.

This national poll surveys residents’ views of their own city and captures perspectives on the liveability of our cities.

The survey, now in its fourth year, polled 5,400 people across 10 cities, asking them to rate their city on the issues that matter to them.

The liveability score for each Australian city in 2013:

The results reveal a change in the liveability scores of our largest cities.

Most notably, Adelaide has lost the top spot and fallen behind Canberra, driven largely by an increasing pessimism about local economic and employment opportunities.

Canberra’s rise to the top was driven by continued improvement in areas where it has always performed, such as safety, being clean, good schools and healthcare.

Darwin again tanked on the back of high living costs and a lack of affordable housing.

Property Council Chief Executive, Peter Verwer, said[sam id=41 codes=’true’]

“This is the people’s verdict on their own city – a report card for governments on urban liveability”.

“The message from our city residents is clear – while there have been improvements in some cities, they want more action from their Governments to improve liveability and opportunities”.

“Australians know what makes a city great and they continue to rate our cities poorly in relation to housing affordability, congestion and public transport.

“In particular, the clear message out of Tasmania and South Australia is that citizens want positive action to reverse flagging economic opportunities.

“Cost of living, housing affordability and job opportunities are the economic foundations for a liveable city”.

The annual My City: The People’s Verdict survey of 5,400 people in all capital cities, as well as Newcastle and Wollongong  and respondents ranked the importance of 17 key liveability attributes and assessed their own city against these attributes. This produced a liveability score for each city.

Australians scored their cities highly on the following attributes:

  • recreational outdoor environments (80% average city approval);
  • natural environments and climate (76% average city approval);
  • school and educational facilities (72% average city approval); and
  • vibrant cultural scene and good climate (70% each average city approval).

But Australians were unimpressed by their city’s performance in the following areas:

  • providing quality affordable housing (36% average city approval).
  • public transport services (42% average city approval);
  • roads and traffic congestion (45% average city approval); and
  • cost of living (45% average city approval)

While there have been improvements from some governments, Australians continue to be underwhelmed in relation to:

  • making housing affordable,
  • setting fair property taxes,
  • supplying infrastructure to keep up with demand, and
  • planning and managing urban growth.

The report also shows a majority of Australians support Federal Government action to improve our cities, confirming that in the minds’ of voters housing affordability is not just a state issue.

“Overwhelmingly, Australians want the new Abbott Government to work with the states and territories to improve housing supply and affordability – they want a coordinated effort, not buck passing” Mr Verwer said.

“The My City survey makes it clear we need a nation-wide effort to boost the performance of our cities to maximise opportunities arising from population growth, housing choice, infrastructure investment and a strong economy.



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Michael is a director of Metropole Property Strategists who help their clients grow, protect and pass on their wealth through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. He's once again been voted Australia's leading property investment adviser and one of Australia's 50 most influential Thought Leaders. His opinions are regularly featured in the media. Visit

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