DRAWING on the latest census data, the 2013 “State of Australian Cities” report confirms our city as a place where people want to live and work.
In the five years to 2011, the Canberra-Queanbeyan region grew by nearly 10 per cent. At the same time, the median household income in the capital increased more than 25 per cent to $1891 (compared to a national median of $1234). We have the highest proportion of working women in full-time employment (63 per cent) and more than 80 per cent of men in employment are full time.
Ranking second, Canberra continues to hold its own as one of Australia’s premier cities. More than 7 per cent of us walk or cycle to work (one of the highest rates of active travel) and traffic congestion has decreased over the last year. We also have the highest level of recycling, with 85 per cent of standard recyclables and more than 90 per cent of green waste recycled last year.
International education is also having a positive impact on our population – in 2011 around 2 per cent of Canberrans were international students. Higher student numbers increase demand for rental housing – a challenge that our city still struggles to meet. We rate as the best in the country for on-campus living, and this helps ease demand, but affordability is still an issue for more than 20 per cent of low-income rental households in Canberra.
However, the opportunity to do better remains and adaptive reuse of vacant commercial spaces, quality urban infill and effective public transport will all help to build on Canberra’s already enviable lifestyle.
Catherine Carter is ACT executive director of the Property Council of Australia