Life in the lucky country: Is Australia still a great place to live?

Australians remain positive about their lives today but fear the future.

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By most measures (economic and social) Australia stacks up remarkably well against other countries as a place to live.

This enviable position often sees Australia labelled the “Lucky Country”. But do we agree, what is it we value most and what do we fear losing? In this special report, NAB once again asked over 2,000 Australians from all walks of life to explore life in the lucky country.

“Overwhelmingly, we continue to view our country very favourably”, said NAB Group Chief Economist Alan Oster. “Around 9 in 10 Australians agree this is indeed a great place to live (only 1 in 20 don’t think so), and this view is broadly unchanged from last year – irrespective of where we live, how old we are and our gender”.

What is it that continues to make Australia such a great place to live?

Most Australians agree it’s our access to open spaces, our beaches, parks etc., our general lifestyle & friendliness of people and relatively safety and security arising from crime, terrorism etc. Some factors rang true for even more Australians than last year, especially safety, open spaces, our democratic system of government, the environment, law and order and people and lifestyle.

“But there are also some areas that have gone backwards – in particular, utilities provision, our relative level of population and living costs”, said Mr Oster.

What makes Australia a great place to live also varies according to where we live. Victoria leads the way for entertainment and jobs and NSW/ACT for education and law & order. People & lifestyle resonated most with Queenslanders, but they were also by far the least positive when it came to public transport. SA/NT was highest for open spaces, but fell well behind for utilities. Roads and utilities were viewed much more positively in WA, while Tasmania led the way for safety and travel time.

“Of concern, Australians believe most things will deteriorate over the next 10 years, led by the cost of living, housing access/affordability and safety”, said Mr Oster.

Other key concerns include taxes, jobs and social welfare. The only areas expected to improve are entertainment (cinemas, theatre, sports etc.), public transport, telecommunications & internet and our acceptance of diversity in gender, race, age and beliefs or inclusion.

“There were also some interesting shifts in expectations for the future, with far fewer Australians positive about telecommunications and utilities, perhaps reflecting concerns in regards to the rollout of Australia next generation broadband and rising utility prices”.

By age, young Australians are much more optimistic across nearly all factors, particularly in regards to entertainment, public transport, telecommunications, inclusion, education, roads, the economy, healthcare and jobs

In contrast, over 50s are the most pessimistic, especially for living costs and safety. A lot more over 50s also expect things to worsen for jobs, social welfare, travel time, utilities, immigration and democracy.

For further information please refer to the attached reports: