Por­trait of a chang­ing city

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - Letters -

Do you want the good news or the bad news, Syd­ney? To­day the Turn­bull gov­ern­ment is re­leas­ing the most com­pre­hen­sive score­card ever com­piled of the na­tion’s 22 largest cities — in­clud­ing Western Syd­ney — paint­ing a de­tailed and at times sur­pris­ing por­trait of the way we live now.

All in all, the re­port found that we have a lot go­ing for us here, both in the Har­bour City and in our western sub­urbs. All in all, we are a well-ed­u­cated, well-paid lot, with more ac­cess to green space than just about any­one liv­ing in any other me­trop­o­lis in the coun­try.

On the pos­i­tive side, the re­port showed Syd­ney con­tin­u­ing to power ahead eco­nom­i­cally. Syd­ney and the west cre­ated the high­est num­ber of new busi­nesses last year any­where in the coun­try with the ex­cep­tion of the Gold Coast, and we com­pre­hen­sively beat out Mel­bourne on this vi­tal mea­sure of en­trepreneuri­al­ism. Syd­ney also con­tin­ues to be one of the most cul­tur­ally and eth­ni­cally di­verse parts of Aus­tralia, with both Syd­ney and Western Syd­ney re­port­ing more than a third of lo­cal house­holds speak­ing a language other than English — the high­est in the coun­try.

It’s also no sur­prise the re­port shows that Sydneysiders are feel­ing the stress both when it comes to hous­ing and com­mut­ing times. We rank low­est in the coun­try for be­ing able to get to work by car in less than 30 min­utes, a fac­tor both of subur­ban sprawl and a roads sys­tem that has failed to keep up with the grow­ing pop­u­la­tion.

Sur­pris­ingly, though, we also rank well ahead of Mel­bourne — 22.7 per cent against 15.5 per cent — in the use of pub­lic trans­port to get to work, some­thing that would seem to cut against the two cities’ rep­u­ta­tions as car-ob­sessed on the one hand and green-tinged on the other. And when it comes to crime, Western Syd­ney scores wor­ry­ingly low in terms of feel­ings of per­sonal safety: just 41 per cent of those who live in the west said they feel safe go­ing out af­ter dark.

All in all though, it makes for a fas­ci­nat­ing look at our large and di­verse city.

The score­card will con­tinue to be up­dated ev­ery six months and look at jobs, in­fra­struc­ture, liv­abil­ity, in­no­va­tion, plan­ning and hous­ing.

It’s a good ini­tia­tive that will help us see how we are do­ing, and how we can do bet­ter.

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