Residents of Sydney's Ku-ring-gai district enjoy the highest quality of life in Australia, according to the inaugural BankWest Quality of Life Index.
Hunters Hill in Sydney and Melbourne's Nillumbik also ranked high in the list, with Hall's Creek in Western Australia followed by Woorabinda in Queensland named as having the worst quality of life.
The index considered indicators such as the labour market, the housing market, the environment, education and health in the country's 590 local government area (LGA) communities. The results showed that, despite its size, Australia's best places to live are around just a few of its urban centres.
"Although many Australians dream of living on the coast or in the country, in reality the best quality of life in Australia is found in the suburbs, particularly in Sydney's north, Melbourne's east and western Perth," BankWest retail chief executive Ian Corfield said.
But the inner city centres of Melbourne and Sydney did not rank very well on the index, with Sydney's CBD coming in at 574, just ahead of Melbourne's CBD which ranked 575.
NSW's outback fringe city of Bourke ranked above both CBDs, at 573.
BankWest said the greater quality of life tended to run parallel with higher home prices. Nine out of 25 LGAs with the best quality of life had an average house price about $1m, including Ku-ring-gai, while 17 had an average house price above $500,000.
Some of the best home values in areas with higher quality of life were in Victoria, said the report, with 10 LGAs there ranking in the top 10% of the index, along with a median house price below the median house price of the state.
Specifically, Indigo in northern Victoria ranked 15th in the quality of life index while having a median house price of $228,500 - 28% below the median Victorian house price. Yarra Ranges outside of Melbourne was also highlighted, ranking 25th overall while having a median house price of $315,000 - 22% of the median Melbourne house price. Others mentioned for the best value for quality of life included Golden Plains, Buloke and Towong of Victoria, as well as Cambooya and Pine Rivers in Queensland and Tuggerong in the ACT.
By state, the top performing LGAs on the quality of life index were Ku-ring-gai in NSW, Nillumbik in Victoria, Peppermint Grove in Western Australia, Adelaide Hills in South Australia, Weston Creek in the ACT, Cambooya in Queensland, Kingborough in Tasmania and Litchfield in the Northern Territory.
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