Advertisement

Canberra, we’re good at…well…being.

By 27 June 2014 15

canberra-a

I want to know why, if Canberra is such a dandy place, according to the OECD.  If we’re leading the whole world in the well-being stakes, why does everybody seem to be complaining so much ?

I would have thought we were the whinging capital of the nation, but the international experts disagree.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation must have had their website hacked by Andrew Barr because they’re latest data suggests that Canberra is cross between Utopia and Shangri La.

I just stepped outside into the biting wind on London Circuit and it didn’t feel much like Utopia to me.  I saw lots of busy people trying to hang on to their scarves, looking glum as they battled the weather and the impossible deadlines that rationalisation and efficiency dividends have forced them to make.  There’s a ‘matching machine’ provided by the OECD which says that we’re a bit like New Hampshire or Western Norway. Feels more like far northern Norway today.

So why did we score so highly ?

Umm, partly because we’re all so rich, apparently. I gather they did the income survey questions in Red Hill and the upper level apartments at Kingston Foreshore and we scored 1o out of 10 in the income stakes.  They need to come talk to me and my accountant.  I understand that our income scores came in ahead of, not just the rest of the nation, but ever other region surveyed in the world ?!

We scored 9.5 for jobs and close to 10 on environment which is a long way in front of the other States and territory.

There were no questions in the survey about the fortunes of one’s local Rugby League team or how regions deal with asbestos contamination in local homes…clearly.

You can check it all out on this website http://oecdregionalwellbeing.org/

I love this place, but it is really Utopia ? Praps if it had a single train track it might be.

Please login to post your comments
15 Responses to Canberra, we’re good at…well…being.
#1
Mark Parton12:42 pm, 27 Jun 14

I’ve lived in most states and territories on this country, (all bar Qld and NT) and this place wins hands down for me.

Why does everyone always focus on the weather ?!

#2
VYBerlinaV8_is_back1:33 pm, 27 Jun 14

Why is Canberra so good?

It’s really safe, easy to get around, has amazing parklands, heaps of well paid jobs, great schools, it’s very clean, lots of variety in terms of food and drinks, commute times are bugger all, very little poverty, the list goes on.

Anyone who thinks Canberra, in general, is not a great place to live needs to travel and see how most of the rest of world has to live.

It’s not perfect, of course, but as a package I can’t think of anywhere any better.

#3
Mysteryman1:40 pm, 27 Jun 14

I like Canberra. I’m not surprised about the results. But I think they are a little misleading. Yes, we scored very highly in key areas.

Looking at the income metric, it’s based solely off what they describe as “disposable income”. The higher the disposable income, the better you score. The problem with this is when you look at how they’ve worked it out you see that it’s just income after tax. It doesn’t factor in housing, food, electricity, etc. Yes we have good incomes, but it doesn’t look like they measured costs – only incomes.

It’s damn expensive to live in Canberra. Transport costs (fuel, rego, insurance, taxis, etc) are expensive. The cost to register my motorcycle, for instance, is now the same as what it was to register my Commodore 6 years ago, and the Commodore now comes in at roughly $1100 a year – an increase of nearly 70% in 6 years. Rent, although granted a slight reprieve earlier this year, is expensive. So is the cost of home ownership. Rates are increasing substantially. Medical costs are expensive as we have the lowest rate of bulk billing doctors in the country. Plus our hospital waiting times are ridiculous. Even eating out is generally more expensive in Canberra. Anecdotally, it’s roughly 20% more expensive in Canberra for the similar food, in similar settings, as in Sydney or Melbourne.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Canberra. But I think the OECD ratings are pretty misleading when you consider the metrics they used and how they arrived at their conclusions.

#4
arescarti421:46 pm, 27 Jun 14

The ACT’s high ranking can be explained by the extremely limited set of indicators the OECD uses to conduct the comparison, and the fact that almost the entire population of the ACT lives in Canberra.

On wealth, the ACT benefits from the large public servant population, and the fact that everyone lives in the capital city, compared to other regions where large proportions of the population live in rural areas where wages are typically much lower.

On environment, the only indicator the OECD looks at is air pollution. With a small population and no heavy industry, it’s no surprise that ACT does extremely well.

Civic engagement is determined by voter turnout, which is of course very high in all Australian regions because voting is compulsory.

The ACT’s high performance on pretty much every other area can be simply explained by having a wealthy city population with no rural areas to drag down the rating.

I suspect Canberra/ACT would have performed much more poorly relative to other places if they had compared cities, rather than regions.

#5
Rollersk8r1:54 pm, 27 Jun 14

Come on – it’s first time in history Canberra’s received two consecutive pieces of high-profile good press (this and the mention in New York Times) – don’t fight it!

And the absolute hatred of Canberra, expressed in response to these articles, should galvanise us! I’m quietly proud of Canberra – we do have a good lifestyle. And I certainly don’t hate any other city or town Australia; nor would I attempt to judge what EVERYONE is like in a particular location.

#6
watto232:03 pm, 27 Jun 14

Mysteryman said :

I like Canberra. I’m not surprised about the results. But I think they are a little misleading. Yes, we scored very highly in key areas.

Looking at the income metric, it’s based solely off what they describe as “disposable income”. The higher the disposable income, the better you score. The problem with this is when you look at how they’ve worked it out you see that it’s just income after tax. It doesn’t factor in housing, food, electricity, etc. Yes we have good incomes, but it doesn’t look like they measured costs – only incomes.

It’s damn expensive to live in Canberra. Transport costs (fuel, rego, insurance, taxis, etc) are expensive. The cost to register my motorcycle, for instance, is now the same as what it was to register my Commodore 6 years ago, and the Commodore now comes in at roughly $1100 a year – an increase of nearly 70% in 6 years. Rent, although granted a slight reprieve earlier this year, is expensive. So is the cost of home ownership. Rates are increasing substantially. Medical costs are expensive as we have the lowest rate of bulk billing doctors in the country. Plus our hospital waiting times are ridiculous. Even eating out is generally more expensive in Canberra. Anecdotally, it’s roughly 20% more expensive in Canberra for the similar food, in similar settings, as in Sydney or Melbourne.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Canberra. But I think the OECD ratings are pretty misleading when you consider the metrics they used and how they arrived at their conclusions.

The figures can be misleading but the examples you provide show why its still a good place to live. Yeah things are a tad more expensive here, but for that we generally have a much higher average wage as well. Then I know people who move back to Sydney and see just what do they get for their wage and so called cheaper living.
A lot of complaints about Canberra are based on things we are spoilt with in Australia. Lack of sunshine and beaches, but many people in europe and North america would love to live just 2 hrs away from them and have the weather we get in Canberra. so perspective tends to be distorted over time. Complaining about cost or vehicle ownership when many can’t afford 1 let alone 2 vehicles. Hell I’m a single income and I have a car and a bike too.

We always have room for improvement, but as a traveler, I believe very few cities have it as good as we do especially for such a small population. There are definitely some very nice cities I’d love to live in and then you realise unemployment is 10-15%, wages are low,etc etc.

The OECD just highlights the good points, There are negatives such as we have the longest elective surgery queues in Australia, but on a global scale its very good. Australia in general is a very good place to live, you’d struggle to find better countries to live in general. But just like elite sportspeople or business people it doesn’t mean we stop trying to improve and criticism, is part of that process, even if it is petty at times.

#7
Rollersk8r2:07 pm, 27 Jun 14

arescarti42 said :

The ACT’s high ranking can be explained by the extremely limited set of indicators the OECD uses to conduct the comparison, and the fact that almost the entire population of the ACT lives in Canberra.

On wealth, the ACT benefits from the large public servant population, and the fact that everyone lives in the capital city, compared to other regions where large proportions of the population live in rural areas where wages are typically much lower.

On environment, the only indicator the OECD looks at is air pollution. With a small population and no heavy industry, it’s no surprise that ACT does extremely well.

Civic engagement is determined by voter turnout, which is of course very high in all Australian regions because voting is compulsory.

The ACT’s high performance on pretty much every other area can be simply explained by having a wealthy city population with no rural areas to drag down the rating.

I suspect Canberra/ACT would have performed much more poorly relative to other places if they had compared cities, rather than regions.

Agree – although for once it works in our favour, instead of being accused by local government of all being environmental criminals who use our cars too much and use too much energy to heat and cool our houses, compared to other cities that have large-scale mass transit systems and much less variable climates!

#8
Mark of Sydney2:29 pm, 27 Jun 14

Mark Parton said :

I’ve lived in most states and territories on this country, (all bar Qld and NT) and this place wins hands down for me.

Why does everyone always focus on the weather ?!

Yes, the weather obsession is quite bizarre. Leaves me wondering whether the OP and others who complain about Canberra’s climate have ever been to Europe or North America, let alone experienced a Northern Hemisphere winter, even in southern Europe. Living in Rome I spent more time wearing an overcoat than I do when in Canberra.

And as for ‘.. busy people trying to hang on to their scarves, looking glum as they battled the weather and the impossible deadlines that rationalisation and efficiency dividends have forced them to make’. You really do need to see more of the world.

#9
Holden Caulfield3:00 pm, 27 Jun 14

Well, Utopia was one of the suggested names for our fair town, so but for a different vote we could lay claim to being in Utopia all the time!

#10
dungfungus3:58 pm, 27 Jun 14

Any report that comes from an organisation with the term “wellbeing” in their web address should be treated with the utmost suspicion.

#11
HiddenDragon5:46 pm, 27 Jun 14

“Canberra, we’re good at…well…being….” – a relatively small, privileged company town.

#12
Pork Hunt7:48 pm, 27 Jun 14

Queanbeyan is the best place to live in Australia. You get 100% of the benefits of Canberra without actually having to live in the ACT.
Your car or bike has NSW plates on it and the rest of Australia doesn’t hate you…

#13
rommeldog5611:00 am, 28 Jun 14

Pork Hunt said :

Queanbeyan is the best place to live in Australia. You get 100% of the benefits of Canberra without actually having to live in the ACT.
Your car or bike has NSW plates on it and the rest of Australia doesn’t hate you…

Shhhhhh…..don’t tell them that or your Annual Rates may triple and u will get a toy train set !!

But, I think u are right. When its so expensive to live on the ACT in a few years – and providing the NSW Gov’t doesn’t also also ramp up Annual Rates in QBN and environs, I suspect here will be a steady stream of people exiting Canberra (if they can sell their houses here !) and move across the border. But I agree, QBN is a great place to live nowdays.

#14
rigseismic672:03 pm, 28 Jun 14

Queanbeyan is good but aren’t the electricity prices almost double those in canberra?

#15
rommeldog566:17 pm, 28 Jun 14

rigseismic67 said :

Queanbeyan is good but aren’t the electricity prices almost double those in canberra?

I dunno about being double, but they are certainly considerably higher – but I would imagine that the ACT Gov’t plan to roll out heaps of solar farms will take away at least some, if not much of that advantage because of the higher feed in tariffs.

Would be interesting to see a “cost of living” comparison or benchmark between ACT/QBN focusing on things like NSW State Govt V ACT Govt charges (car rego, Annual Rates, Water/Sewerage, etc) and things like electricity, gas, insurances (car 3rd party & comprehensive), etc.

Monitor how, or if any, gap at the bottom line, widens over the coming years as the ACT Govt Annual Rates ramp up (avg. 10% pa over 20 years !) compounds and bites.

Follow
Follow The RiotACT
Advertisement
GET PREMIUM MEMBERSHIP

Are you in favour of Light Rail for Canberra?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

IMAGES OF CANBERRA

Advertisement
Sponsors
RiotACT Proudly Supports
Advertisement
Copyright © 2014 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.