Portrait of a changing city
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.