WA’s slow withdrawal of COVID restrictions has caused the once envious destination Perth to fall on the global viability ladder, but Prime Minister Mark McGowan has stood by his pandemic response.
Last year, the city was ranked as the sixth most habitable place in the world.
But what goes up needs to go down, and this year Perth slipped to number 32.
The Global Liveability Index, conducted by the Economic Intelligence Unit, looked at stability, health care, culture, environment, education and infrastructure to find the world’s best cities.
At the top came Vienna in Austria, followed by Copenhagen in Denmark. Zurich in Switzerland and Calgary in Canada are in third place.
Rankings in previous years were largely driven by COVID, with lockdowns affecting outcomes for culture, education and healthcare, but the latest survey showed that the index had mostly returned to normal.
The study found that cities in Australia and New Zealand have experienced some of the biggest declines in viability over the past 12 months, with rollbacks of restrictions hitting live scores in European countries.
It is no secret to the people of Perth that our city is the best place to live, work and start a family.
The report stated that those down – and their neighbors on the other side of the ditch – benefited in early 2021, when COVID vaccines were scarce due to closed borders that kept the infection rate down.
This changed, however, when the highly contagious Omicron infiltrated both countries towards the end of last year.
This meant that Aussie and Kiwi cities no longer had a “COVID advantage” over well-vaccinated European and Canadian cities.
Despite the setback, Melbourne managed to beat its place in the top ten and achieve the title of the most habitable city in Australia.
Meanwhile, Perth and Adelaide were singled out for being “slower to lift restrictions” than elsewhere, hurting their viability results.
But Mr McGowan told The West Australian that WA’s “careful and thoughtful” handling 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,” McGowan said.
“It’s no secret to the people of Perth that our city is the best place to live, work and start a family.”
Perth’s Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas also said the result was “just a glance at the radar of Perth”.
“We all know how lively our city is,” Mr Zempilas said.
“Affordable housing, employment opportunities and climate and leisure facilities are still the best in Australia.”
Sir. Zempilas said he was “very optimistic” that a return to normalcy would see the Perth rocket back into the top ten within the next 12 months.
“But there is no doubt that working hard to improve our arts and culture offerings continues to be a growth opportunity for Perth. That is why attracting and facilitating events such as the Van Gogh Alive and Strange Festival as well as favorites such as the Perth Festival and Fringe are so big a 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 results 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 bound with Calgary, Canada
5. Vancouver, Canada
6. Geneva, Switzerland
7. Frankfurt Germany
8. Toronto, Canada
9. Amsterdam. Netherlands
10. Osaka, Japan and Melbourne, Australia