It’s best known as a quaint holiday spot on Victoria’s surf coast but now Warrnambool has been ranked Australia’s most liveable city in a new national study.
The Ipsos annual Life in Australia study crowned Warrnambool and its surrounding region the most livable city as well as region, seen as a place where people spend time with family and in nature, not stuck in traffic.
The picturesque maritime city scored highest in both the metropolitan and regional rankings with 68.7 out of 100 on the livability index, narrowly beating inner-Perth (68.6) and the Adelaide Hills (67) in the annual study, which ranks areas across 17 factors.
Warrnambool’s high scores in the attributes of access to nature, feeling safe, a sense of community and a lack of traffic congestion helped the area score so highly.
Warrnambool Mayor Cr Tony Herbert commented: “This is wonderful recognition of our city and the region.The study considers the attributes of a place that people consider important in their lives. We are so fortunate in Warrnambool to have the facilities that we have and the stunning coastal setting. We have Deakin Uni, South West TAFE, a base hospital, dedicated cancer treatment centre and a great arts and culture scene. All of these factors help create a sense of belonging, a sense of opportunity and contribute to the sense of pride we feel for our city.”
In reaching number one Warrnambool outscored inner Perth, Central Adelaide and the Adelaide Hills, Sydney’s eastern suburbs, and the inner east and inner south suburbs of Melbourne. Other regional areas to score highly were the South East of South Australia, the Murray region of NSW and the Sunshine Coast.
In the battle of the two big cities, Sydney’s eastern suburbs scored best with 65.8, while Melbourne’s highest-ranked area was the inner south (65), rounding out the top five for urban areas. Both affluent areas scored highly for feeling safe and access to nature, but had lower rankings for affordable housing.
At the other end of the scale, Sydney’s south west (49.1) and Blacktown (51.9) were the two least-liveable metro areas, followed by Logan-Beaudesert in Brisbane (53.1), Melbourne’s west (53.5) and Sydney’s Parramatta (53.6).
Ipsos’s public affairs deputy director Daniel Evans said the study takes a “citizen-centric” approach to understanding livability, surveying 10,000 people each year to hear what they think makes somewhere a good place to live.
As for regional areas, sunny Queensland fared the worst. Central Queensland ranked lowest (53.3) and Townsville was not much better (53.6), both ranking poorly on job prospects and public transport.