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‘Boring’ Aussie city has ‘best quality of life’

‘Boring’ Aussie city has ‘best quality of life’


It’s a city often mistaken as being “boring” but it is breaking tourism records and outshining rivals Sydney and Melbourne in a new global list.

What many people may not realise is the country’s capital Canberra has more to offer than just Parliament House.

“There is a huge array of activities for family travellers, from Questacon to exploring the National Arboretum to getting out on the lake on a GoBoat, plus world-class cultural attractions,” Jonathan Kobus, executive branch manager for VisitCanberra previously told news.com.au.

Surprisingly, it also has the highest number of hatted restaurants per capita of any city in Australia.

“The food offering here is constantly changing and evolving while still maintaining restaurants like two-hatted The Boat House, which originally opened in Canberra in the early 1990s,” Mr Kobus added.

According to a new report from economic advisory firm Oxford Economics, Canberra now has the second-highest quality of life in the world.

Its 2024 Global Cities Index report released on Tuesday, Canberra was the lone non-European city in the top 10 with Melbourne in spot 185 and Sydney in place 230.

Grenoble, France had the highest quality of life score at 100, followed by Canberra at 99.8 and Bern in Switzerland at 99.7.

“Grenoble, France scores highest in this category, driven by its multitude of recreation and cultural sites per person and income equality,” the report read.

It also said Canberra’s “impressive feat” is driven by the city’s high incomes and low degree of income inequality, due to the availability of stable and high paying government jobs.

“The city also has excellent healthcare facilities and ranks among the highest in the world for life expectancy.”

The report ranked the world’s 1000 largest cities part of research into the importance of urban centres as economic drivers.

The report comes as Aussies from other states, particularly those from NSW, are flocking to the ACT with the territory having welcomed 5.63 million domestic visitors, who spent a total of $3.33 billion last year.

This is the highest ever number of visitor nights, the highest ever expenditure, and the third highest number of domestic visitors in the ACT in a twelve-month period over the past 25 years.

“The city’s diverse, accessible visitor experience, led by our major attractions and events, are growing our reputation as a go to holiday destination,” Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate said in a statement last month.

“Major exhibitions at our national attractions have been significant draw cards and new investment in a range of tourism products is providing more reasons to visit and return.”

The rest of the top 10 are cities in the Oxford Economics survey released this week are in northwestern Europe, all of which have a combination of high incomes with relatively high income equality, long life expectancies, and vast offerings of recreation and cultural sites.

Other categories in the report include economics, human capital, environment, governance and top cities in the world — with Canberra ranking 44th.

New York topped the list as being the top city in the world, just ahead of London.

San Jose in California, the home of Apple, Meta, Google and Nvidia, ranked third.

Melbourne and Sydney didn’t miss out with the cities making the top 50, at ninth and 16th respectively.

“It (Melbourne) is the highest ranking Australian city in our index, seven positions above its slightly larger and more famous counterpart, Sydney,” the report read.

“Indeed, Melbourne has in the last two decades been catching up to Sydney in aspects ranging from economics to population size. Because of its many art galleries and the fact that it hosts major sports events such as the Australian Open and the Australian Grand Prix – Melbourne is widely considered to be the cultural and sporting capital of Australia.”

The city also ranked 11th in the human capital category, 30th in environment and 18th in governance.

Meanwhile, Sydney ranked 19th in economic, 9th in human capital, 363rd in environment and 18th in governance.

“It (Sydney) has enjoyed relatively high stability in its gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate over the years, in line with Australia’s economic resilience in general,” the report said.

“Also, Sydney’s economy gets a large contribution from tourism, as it is home to some of Australia’s most famed landmarks, including the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, and Bondi Beach.”

However, “a major weakness” in the form of high housing costs persists, the report stated.

“Property prices and rents have risen steeply in the city due to rapid growth in population, and the housing supply has not been able to keep up. Indeed, Sydney’s housing supply is constrained by its geographical location on the coastline and regulatory restrictions protecting heritage neighbourhoods; this makes new construction or increases in density difficult.

“As such, residents of Sydney have very high levels of housing expenditure, which weighs considerably on the city’s quality of life score.”

Read related topics:MelbourneSydney


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