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World’s most liveable city? Only for some

Melbourne being named the world’s most liveable city by the Economist Intelligence Unit for the fifth year running fails to recognise the growing disparity between those who can afford to live where there are jobs and services, and those who are living in areas of high unemployment, poor transport and entrenched disadvantage, says the Victorian Council of Social Service.

“Inner city Melbourne is an attractive proposition for international recruiters who use the EIU’s Global Liveability Survey to lure prospective employees. Yet the reality is very different for people who can’t afford to live where the vast bulk of services are located, or for those who are excluded from cultural and economic opportunities due to poverty and disadvantage,” said Emma King, CEO of VCOSS.

“Perhaps the EIU should survey the growing number of people sleeping rough on Melbourne’s streets how liveable they find the city in the midst of winter? Or ask the families sleeping in their cars on the city’s fringe about liveability?”

“The reality is that more people have been pushed onto the city’s urban fringe as people chase increasingly elusive affordable housing. The lack of jobs in these areas along with the failure to invest in the transport and services that people need leaves those who move there at greater risk of poverty and disadvantage.”

“A growing body of evidence, such as the recent Dropping Off the Edge report, paints a starkly different picture of our community from that which is held up year-after-year as among the world’s most liveable.”

“Over the coming decade we need to fit millions more people into Victoria with the state’s population set to boom. We cannot merely keep expanding Melbourne’s fringe without also increasing jobs, infrastructure and services there.”

“A genuinely liveable city would be one where everyone who lives there can afford a good home, get a secure job, have regular public transport nearby, get great education or training, and be able to easily get to their local health and community services.

“We need a greater focus on creating employment opportunities and providing access to the services that support a truly liveable community for everyone who makes this city their home.”