McGowan’s slow rollback of COVID restrictions made Perth a less liveable city: The Global Liveability Index
WA’s slow rollback of COVID restrictions has seen the once envied destination of Perth plummet on the global liveability ladder, but Premier Mark McGowan has stood by his pandemic response.
The city was last year ranked the sixth most liveable place in the world.
But what goes up must come down and this year Perth slid to number 32.
The Global Liveability Index, done by the Economic Intelligence Unit, looked at the stability, healthcare, culture, environment, education and infrastructure to find the world’s best cities.
Vienna in Austria came out on top, followed by Copenhagen in Denmark. Zurich in Switzerland and Calgary in Canada tied in third place.
Rankings in previous years were largely driven by COVID, with lockdowns affecting scores for culture, education and healthcare, but the most recent survey showed the index had mostly returned to normal.
The survey found that cities in Australia and New Zealand suffered some of the biggest drops in liveability over the past 12 months, with the rollback of restrictions bumping liveability scores in European countries.
It is no secret to the people of Perth that our city is the best place to live, work and raise a family.
The report stated that those down under — and their neighbours across the ditch — benefited in early 2021 when COVID vaccines were scarce, due to closed borders keeping infection rates down.
However, this changed as the highly infectious Omicron infiltrated both countries towards the end of last year.
It meant Aussie and Kiwi cities no longer had a “COVID advantage” over well-vaccinated European and Canadian cities.
Despite the setback, Melbourne managed to claw its place in the top ten, earning the title of the most liveable city in Australia.
Meanwhile, Perth and Adelaide were singled out for being “slower to lift restrictions” than other locations which hurt their liveability scores.
But Mr McGowan told The West Australian that WA’s “careful and considered” management of COVID at all times based on health advice, had directly resulted in some of the best health, economic and social outcomes in the world.
“What makes our State and our city so attractive is that compared to other States, WA has the highest annual salary and the lowest average mortgage,” Mr McGowan said.
“It is no secret to the people of Perth that our city is the best place to live, work and raise a family.”
Perth Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas also said the score was “just a blip on the radar for Perth”.
“We all know how liveable our city is,” Mr Zempilas said.
“Housing affordability, employment opportunities and climate, and recreational facilities are still the best in Australia.”
Mr Zempilas said he was “very optimistic” that a return to normal conditions would see Perth rocket back into the top ten in the next 12 months.
“But there’s no doubt working hard to enhance our arts and culture offering remains a growth opportunity for Perth. It’s why attracting and facilitating events like Van Gogh Alive and the Strange Festival as well as favourites like Perth Festival and Fringe is such a big focus for the City of Perth,” he said.
The report also stated that the war in Ukraine and future COVID variants could continue to affect scores in the future.
“Our core assumption is that a new variant will cause a global wave of cases later this year, but that it will not be more aggressive than Delta or prove resistant to current vaccines,” the report said.
Top ten list:
1. Vienna, Austria
2. Copenhagen, Denmark
3. Zurich, Switzerland tied with Calgary, Canada
5. Vancouver, Canada
6. Geneva, Switzerland
7. Frankfurt Germany
8. Toronto, Canada
9. Amsterdam. Netherlands
10. Osaka, Japan and Melbourne, Australia