Updated: Feb 9
After putting their annual Global Liveability Index on hold in 2020 as a result of the COVID pandemic, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has dived back into action for 2021 with a number of curve balls. Having enjoyed a to-and-fro for first and second place over many years, both Melbourne and Vienna found themselves noticeably lower than usual. However, despite Melbourne’s coronavirus trouble (from an Australian perspective), the city still managed to muscle into the top ten.
Contrary to the usual routine, the EIU’s 2021 Global Liveability Index resembles a scorecard for coronavirus management at the national level. Of the ten cities, two were in New Zealand (Auckland at #1 and Wellington at equal #4); another two in Japan (Osaka at #2 and Tokyo at equal #4); another two in Switzerland (Zurich at #7 and Geneva at equal #8); and an impressive four in Australia (Adelaide at #3, Perth at #6, Melbourne at equal #8 and Brisbane at #10). Brisbane beat or equalled Melbourne on the measures of stability, healthcare and education. Infrastructure and culture & environment were the two that slipped away, causing Melbourne to edge out the sunshine capital by 0.1 index points.
" We could actually argue Brisbane trumps Melbourne on infrastructure if you look at it on a per capita basis".
Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit
Although the 2021 rankings are an exception to business as usual, they do highlight a point made by many commentators both before and during the pandemic;
"Australia is arguably the best place in the world to live".
All coronavirus did was reinforce that. This raises questions as to how much demand will build up for long-term arrivals as our borders progressively reopen. In other words, how much more of the world’s talent is now going to want to call Australia home?
If managed in a healthy way, this could be beneficial for all parties. Beneficial to our new arrivals who can live in the world’s most liveable cities, beneficial to the existing community if these arrivals fill some of our critical skills shortages, and beneficial for the broader economy. The key is doing it thoughtfully — a persistent political minefield.
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