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The Property Council of Australia has released the latest results from My City: The People’s Verdict – a national poll that tests views on the liveability of our cities.
Newcastle collected the wooden spoon in a number of categories that rate our city as a place to live, work and play.
Newcastle was included for the first time and registered a Liveability score of 60.1. Of the 10 largest population centres in Australia, it makes Newcastle the 7th most liveable city according to its own residents.
Only Hobart, Sydney and Darwin were considered less liveable. Adelaide was the winning city and Canberra the runner up. Also scoring better than our city were Wollongong, Brisbane, Perth and Melbourne.
When Novocastrians were asked if their City was clean, well maintained and unpolluted, the answer was a resounding no. Newcastle finished last – 15% behind the national average.
Newcastle also finished last when residents were asked if our City had an attractive look and design. Another wooden spoon came for Newcastle’s approach to environmental sustainability and climate change.
The other last place came for a measure of community harmony. Less than half of all respondents agreed Newcastle has a diverse range of people who get along well.
The clear downside is that Newcastle falls well short of the expectations of its own residents, who have made a clear call for radical surgery to the way their city is managed
They want smart growth – defined by a whole-of-government commitment to deliver on a regional strategy that offers the jobs, infrastructure and housing we need.
Newcastle residents were more likely to support a series of housing developments to support growth. The highest level of support was for: the conversion of old industrial sites to apartments and townhouses; new neighbourhoods of freestanding houses built on the outskirts of the city close to jobs; and more medium density housing (like townhouses) in middle and outer suburbs.
The survey by Auspoll tested the views of 515 residents of the greater Newcastle metropolis – benchmarking its performance against 17 key attributes that define good cities.
The survey revealed that Newcastle residents felt the top 3 attributes in making a city a good place in which to live were:
- That it is a safe place for people and their property
- There are good healthcare services
- It is an affordable place to have a good standard of living
Compared to other cities, Newcastle performed relatively well on:
- Having a good climate (60% agree)
- Having a wide range of recreational outdoor environments (55%)
- Having good schools and other educational facilities (57%)
The research also revealed attitudes to the State Government’s performance on a host of issues. Approval ratings include:
- 68% on renewing inner-urban areas with quality apartments and townhouses
- 34% on making housing more affordable
There is no doubt Novocastrians want action to streamline the planning process and cut red tape so we can unleash a new wave of investment in city-building projects.
The State Government has a rare opportunity to bring together its reform agenda in a way that leaves a powerful legacy for Newcastle.
The pending review of the Regional Strategy, release of an urban renewal plan for the CBD and the work of Regional Development Australia are all critical to our immediate needs and future opportunities.
The challenge is to thread them together and provide an unambiguous vision for our city that promotes the infrastructure, jobs and housing that Novocastrians seek.
The good news is we now have a baseline to measure Newcastle’s liveability. We’ll be able to measure our performance and track progress on a regular basis.
NSW Regional Director (Hunter) – Property Council of Australia