Melbourne is the world’s most liveable city for the seventh year running, according to The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Liveability Report for 2017, though Sydney remains out of the top 10 amid terrorism concerns.
The annual index ranks the liveability of 140 cities on a range of metrics including stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure.
Melbourne topped the list, closely followed by Vienna, Austria, with Adelaide (equal fifth) and Perth (seventh) also making the top 10.
Premier Daniel Andrews called the news a win for all Victorians.
“We’ll continue working hard every day to make Melbourne even better, and create a fairer, safer and stronger state for all Victorians,” he said.
Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said Melbourne had set a world record.
“No city in the world has topped the EIU’s Liveability Index for seven consecutive years in its own right,” Mr Doyle said.
“This world record is an amazing feat that all Melburnians should be extremely proud of today.”
Some Melburnians’ eyebrows might raise at the city’s perfect 100 score for infrastructure, which includes quality of road and rail networks, availability of good quality housing and quality of telecommunications, though Mr Doyle said the city was doing great work.
“There will always be naysayers and whingers, and of course we are not perfect. No great world city is, but we should be very proud of the work we all do together to make Melbourne the best city in the world,” he said.
The reaction was more sombre in Sydney, with terrorism concerns listed as a key reason the city dropped four spots in little over a year.
“Sydney … has seen a decline in its ranking, reflecting growing concerns over possible terror attacks in the past three years,” the report said.
“Sydney now ranks outside the top ten most liveable cities, at number 11, down from seventh place just over a year ago.”
Across the world, growing terrorism and security concerns saw volatility in the scores of many other cities.
“The ongoing weakening of global stability scores has been made uncomfortably apparent by a number of high-profile incidents that have shown no signs of slowing in recent years.”
Sydney’s inequality problem
While equity is not a overt consideration of the index, inequality could impact on a number of the categories, including crime, infrastructure quality, and availability of healthcare and education.
The index interestingly was released as joint University of Melbourne and UNSW research revealed that while overall the two cities were providing more to disadvantaged areas than advantaged areas, Sydney was all but ignoring its most disadvantaged suburbs.
“In Sydney’s most disadvantaged suburbs, expenditure was lower than the metropolitan average in health, justice, roads, amenities, urban development and utilities,” the study authors wrote in The Conversation.
“In Melbourne’s most socially disadvantaged suburbs, expenditure was higher than the metropolitan average in almost all categories of infrastructure and services.”
The authors said from a public justice perspective, public funding of infrastructure and services should give priority to the most disadvantaged.
The study partly blamed “a highly centralised pattern of government spending”, though said it couldn’t fully explain Sydney’s most disadvantaged suburbs were missing out, as Melbourne also had highly centralised funding.
“We need to find other political and social explanations to explain these differences between Melbourne and Sydney,” the authors wrote.