Making our most liveable cities great cities

Australia’s major cities are still among the world’s most liveable but must avoid complacency if they are to meet the needs and aspirations of our growing population in the ‘metropolitan century’.

Melbourne has been ranked second, Sydney fifth and Adelaide tenth in the latest global liveability survey published by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

“The survey results confirm what we’ve known for some time – that Australian cities are highly attractive places to live, work and study,” said Ken Morrison, Chief Executive of the Property Council of Australia.

“But cities are also very dynamic places, subject to growing pains and pressures which can affect perceptions about their liveability.

“As our population passes 25 million, and with most of our growth occurring in our major cities, we must keep planning and investing for the future,” Mr Morrison said.

Mr Morrison said Australia needed to intensify its efforts to successfully manage the growth of its cities.

“We need to redouble our focus on policies that support investment, planning and collaboration to create the great Australian cities of the future.

“As evidenced by the Economist survey, there are some things we do well, but there are some areas where we need to much better if we are to grow well into the future,” Mr Morrison said.

The challenges and opportunities for Australian cities were set out in the Creating Great Australian Cities report by Professor Greg Clark released earlier this year, which also noted that the perceptions of Australian cities outranked their actual performance.

Australian cities are behind their international counterparts on transport congestion and infrastructure. Most of our cities have highly fragmented governance. Only Brisbane has a local government that compares to international norms in terms of its metropolitan coverage.  City governments in Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne have effective jurisdiction over a mere fraction of their metropolitan areas.

“We are playing ‘catch-up’ on investment in city-shaping infrastructure. There are important projects now underway, but the investment cycle will need to continue for several decades to keep pace with growth,” Mr Morrison said.

“Our governments must plan for and invest in projects that will deliver benefits for decades to come, not just until the next ribbon-cutting ceremony or election.”

“We shouldn’t be daunted by these challenges – we should embrace them and the opportunity they represent to create great Australia cities for the metropolitan century.

“Australia’s future is in our cities, and we need to focus on taking them from good to great for the benefit of current and future generations,” Mr Morrison said.

Media contact:  Matt Francis | M 0467 777 220 |  E [email protected]

The Creating Great Australian Cities research and reports is available at