May we have a quiet word with our mayor, Cr Marg O’Rourke please?
Here’s some advice. When a journalist from Melbourne, or Sydney, phones you and asks for comment on a survey which shows Bendigo is, in so many ways, more “liveable” than the capital cities, just say: “Sorry, Marg’s not in right now.” Or, “Bendigo? Bendigo? Never heard of it. You sure you have the right number?”
This week there was some media mention in Melbourne that Victoria’s inland cities – notably Bendigo – had outstripped the capital in 12 out of 24 issues which determine just how nice it is to live somewhere.
There were even some truly lovey quotes from a Melbourne bloke, architect Matthew Dwyer, who moved here and was surprised at how easy a Bendigo life was.
But … we’ve known this for years, haven’t we?
And we were always quietly happy that most Melburnians had no idea about it.
But the word’s out now.
It came about through the release of the Deloitte Access Economics Regional Cities Liveability Index.
The Addy also carried news of the Index, but that’s okay, because it’s just giving ourselves a pat on the back. It’s other people hearing about it which has DTM concerned.
It ranked the regional cities collectively (but we know it was really all about us) better than Melbourne in things such as lower unemployment, lower housing costs, more local volunteers, distance from railway stations, better health services, more land zoned for public use, more people visiting for environment, arts or recreation, and even more people as a percentage of population involved in retail work.
It didn’t mention we don’t waste half our lives sitting in stationary cars or breathe air you can actually see.
Areas we didn’t compare too favourable (that’s the part of the report DTM thinks of as Fake News) included less people in uni studies, mobile phone and broadband coverage, distance from a commercial airport, slightly more mortgage stress, slightly less people employed in arts and recreation.
Oh, and umm, a fair few more committing criminal offences.
We await the next stage in Deloitte Access Economics’ study of just how much more liveable it is here compared to other regional cities.
On a recent visit to Bendigo, singer/songwriter Colin Hay told us Men At Work first began to develop a following in gigs at Kangaroo Flat.
But we were a tad dumbstruck when he said the growing number of local supporters were referred to as “Flat Heads.”