Melbourne - best city in the world for CAs?
For six years in a row, Melbourne has found itself at the top of The Economist’s global liveability survey, beating out cities such as Vancouver, Vienna and Toronto to the envied top spot.
But what exactly is it that makes the southern city the perfect place to call home?
The Economist scores cities out of 100 across five broad categories and in 2016 Melbourne did very well, if not perfectly, across the lot. Once stability (95), education (100), health care (100), culture and environment (95.1) and infrastructure (100) were added up, the Victorian capital was unbeatable.
Out of the top 10, six cities were in Australia or Canada, and this appears to be a secret to success. Liveability, it seems, comes from mid-sized cities with a high average level of education, low population density, no conflict, low perceived terrorism threats and a good level of wealth.
But what does that mean on the ground? We spoke with three ICAS members who now call Melbourne home, to get their point of view on the sensitive (for Sydneysiders…) topic.
Peter Valentine CA
From: Cumbernauld, outside Glasgow
In Melbourne: 17 years
When we catch Peter Valentine on the phone he’s in a car with a group of mates on his way to a golf weekend just outside Melbourne. That’s one of the things he loves about the city – its huge choice of brilliant golf courses.
“I’m very happy with Melbourne as a place to live,” he says. “It has wide open spaces, a lot of greenery on the edge of the city but also a very cosmopolitan feel. It really is a melting pot of various cultures.
“It rains here quite a bit, but in Glasgow, there was a feeling that the rain would never stop. Here you always know it will stop and that the next day will be incredible.”
“The people are very optimistic, too. I didn’t fully appreciate the way Australians would refer to ‘whingeing Poms’ before I moved here, but now I see it. Australians have a far more optimistic and positive outlook on life, and I’d miss that a lot if I ever had to leave.”
Lorna Stewart CA
Chief Risk Officer, BUPA Aust/NZ
From: Hamilton, South Lanarkshire
In Melbourne: 2.5 years
Melbourne is great for its family friendliness, its outdoors lifestyle and its coffee, according to Lorna Stewart, who has called the city home for almost three years.
“The outdoors lifestyle really is brilliant and it leads to better time together as a family,” she says. “There are parks everywhere, there are beaches that you can use for eight months of the year. It’s very clean and there are plenty of spots to have barbeques.”
“Family life is highly regarded by people in Melbourne. If there is a sports day at your child’s school, for example, your workplace expects you to be there. There is no need to make excuses or invent stories.”
“Then there’s the coffee, and it really is good coffee. But there’s also an actual coffee culture that is part of the social fabric. It means all of my team from work go out for 15 minutes each morning to get a coffee together, rather than using the coffee machine or making instant coffee at work. We get to catch up, have a chat and prepare for the day.”
“There are a lot of opportunities in Melbourne in terms of work and that will continue as the city is growing. There are large organisations and the economy is strong. That is good for me and will also be good for my children.”
Stewart Paterson CA
Director, PwC Financial Services
From: Dorset and London
In Melbourne: 3 years
Melbourne is known as the Australian city that truly experiences four seasons every day. In every other city the sun shines endlessly, but in Melbourne, the weather always has a surprise in store. For that reason, Stewart Paterson says, he thinks Australians would think him strange that he thinks the weather in Melbourne is great. “But that’s coming from the perspective of someone from London,” he smiles.
“The lifestyle here really is great,” he continues. “We live 30 minutes from the centre of the city and 10 minutes from the beach. ‘Congestion’ means being stuck in traffic for five minutes. There are a lot of lovely suburbs and great parks for the kids, and we’re close to the beautiful Mornington Peninsula and its wineries.”
“I can’t talk about Melbourne without discussing coffee. I used to be a tea-drinking Englishman but now I’m well and truly converted. It’s lovely to be in a place that doesn’t have a Starbucks on every corner.”
“We were worried about getting our kids into good schools as it’s such a battle in London, but when we arrived we visited five schools, they were all superb, and they all had spaces available!”
“Finally, there’s the sport. I had always wanted to attend a Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Then there’s the Formula 1 Grand Prix, the Australian Open tennis, the Australian Football League and so much more. I’ve always been a keen sports follower so that definitely works for me.”
About the author
Chris Sheedy is one of Australia’s busiest and most successful freelance writers. He has been published regularly in the Sydney Morning Herald, Virgin Australia Voyeur, The Australian Magazine, GQ, In The Black, Cadillac, Management Today, Men’s Fitness and countless other big-brand publications. He is frequently commissioned to carry out copywriting and corporate writing projects for organisations, including banks, universities, television networks, restaurant chains and major charities, through his business The Hard Word.