A comprehensive new survey of attitudes on population growth in our major cities has found an overwhelming majority of Australians believe growth can be good if it’s managed properly despite their concerns about the rate of population growth in our major cities.
These are the key findings from a national survey commissioned by the Property Council of Australia. They are being released ahead of next week’s COAG meeting in Adelaide where the Commonwealth, state and territory governments will discuss a new framework for better planning to manage population growth.
The online survey of 2,938 respondents was conducted by Essential Research between 13-23 November and included respondents in all state and territory capitals except Darwin.
Chief Executive of the Property Council of Australia, Ken Morrison, said the survey results showed that while Australians were feeling some growing pains in our major cities, especially Melbourne and Sydney, they strongly favoured better planning to manage our growth in the future.
“Australians are strikingly positive about their cities, with 9 out of 10 people saying they are good to great places to live,” Mr Morrison said.
“But people don’t believe we’ve done a good enough job of planning for growth and are looking for better outcomes from governments at all levels.
“This survey shows Australians are not against growth, but they want it better planned and managed. This is a simple, consistent message from every city, young and old, Liberal and Labor voters.
“Australians have thrown down the gauntlet for all levels of government: get on with the job of planning and investing for our growing cities,” Mr Morrison said.
Despite growth challenges, nine of out of ten like their city
Australians are overwhelmingly positive about the cities where they live.
Overall, 87% of respondents thought their city was a good place to live (rated from ‘fairly good’ to ‘excellent’). Only 9% said their city was ‘average’ and 4% thought their city was not a very good or bad place to live.
47% per cent of people in Hobart thought their city was an excellent place to live compared to Canberra 38%, Adelaide 35%, Perth 31%, Melbourne 30%, Brisbane 26% and Sydney 25%.
From your own perspective, how would you rate your city as a place to live? % responses
Not very good
Fairly/ very bad
Feeling the growing pains
Overall, 59% of those surveyed believed Australia’s population was growing too fast although 24% thought Australia would be better off if it attracted more people.
Concerns about city growth were strongest in Melbourne and Sydney (72% and 70% respectively) followed by Brisbane (60%), Hobart (46%), Perth (46%), Canberra (44%) and Adelaide (36%).
Only 27% of those surveyed thought their city had handled population changes in recent years well.
77% of respondents thought the problems faced by growing cities often come down to governments failing to have planned properly.
‘Good Growth’ opportunity
The importance of good planning in managing population growth featured strongly in survey responses.
75% of those surveyed agreed that Population growth is good as long as its properly planned.
72% agreed that Cities can sustain a larger population as long as they get the infrastructure right.
Furthermore, 72% agreed with the statement that Because halting population growth isn’t a realistic option, what’s needed is better planning to accommodate growth that preserves and enhances the livability of our cities.
79% of respondents saw a jobs and economic growth upside from population growth and the housing and infrastructure needed to support it.
71% also agreed that Good growth can create great places for people that are vibrant, easy to get to, affordable, a good place to live and safe.
Virtually all respondents (95%) thought the federal, state and territory governments had a very important or fairly important role in making their city a better place to live, followed by local government (94%), development and construction companies (92%), local businesses (92%) and community groups (88%).
Support for good growth crosses the political divide
There is broad support for better managed growth in our cities across political party preferences and age groups.
80% of Labor voters,77% of Coalition voters and 76% of Greens voters agreed that growth can be good if its managed properly while 53% of One Nation voters also agreed with this proposition.
Support for good growth also spread across education backgrounds and household income. 75% of households with incomes between $30,000 and $50,000 supported well-managed growth, compared to 82% of households with incomes over $120,000.