Whatever… Is your patch family friendly?

A minor susurration could be heard across the land in response to the Suncorp Family Friendly [TM] Survey. The Gong was pissed off.

Overall: 21st out of 30

Crime rate per 100,000 – 6323 (9th)

Number of visits to GP services per resident – 5.9 (25th)

Number of children at each school – 494 (8th)

Average cost of a house – $397,000 (19th)

Level of unemployment – 6.9% (25th)

Residents with good long-term health outlook + 65.5per cent (26th)

Median weekly disposable income – $652 (22nd)

Households with access to broadband internet – 66.9per cent (14th)

Children per childcare centre – 42 (2nd)

Residents who volunteer – 16.9per cent (22nd)

FotoSketcher - P9230780a

Brighton Beach, Wollongong Harbour

Launceston starred!

LAUNCESTON is the most family-friendly city in Australia with cheap housing and good education outweighing low incomes and high unemployment, a new report has found.

The Suncorp Bank report, titled the "Family Friendly City Index", found that Launceston was the No.1 city with Hobart coming in at seventh spot out of 30 of Australia’s most populous cities.

Former Hobart man Brendan Vince says he is the biggest convert to Launceston.

"I used to bag it out when I lived in Hobart, but now I love the place," he said.

Mr Vince, a teacher, and wife Joanna, a university lecturer, moved from Hobart about eight years ago.

They have a son Zachary.

"It is a great place for kids, everything is so close and housing is much cheaper than Hobart," Mr Vince said.

The index looked at 10 indicators including education, health, crime rates, income, connectivity and unemployment.

Canberra was the top capital city, in second place, with Perth and Adelaide equal fifth.

Of the big three, Melbourne was ranked 14th, ahead of Sydney (23rd) and Brisbane (24th).

Suncorp Bank executive manager Craig Fenwick said the survey found that increasingly the larger, stressful, crowded urban jungles and under-serviced eastern seaboard capitals were being upstaged by regional cities.

"The results reveal for the first time that many regional cities have a better balance of job opportunities, housing affordability, income, school sizes, health services, broadband access and lower crime rates," he said.

I still don’t quite get it. How come number of GP visits per resident (higher in The Gong than in Launceston) is seen as a negative in access to health services? Sure, it might mean Gongers are unhealthy, or fat, or old, or all of the above – but they are clearly accessing a service, aren’t they?

The country press seizes on the obvious:

A GREAT deal is made of Melbourne’s much-vaunted ”liveability” and Sydney’s glam harbourside lifestyle.

But for families who grow weary of the rat race, it seems the sedate Tasmanian city of Launceston is the country’s most family-friendly place.

New research that compares Australia’s most populous 30 cities on indicators such as access to schools, health, childcare, income and housing, found Launceston came out on top.

The lucky children who live there attend the least-crowded schools, with about 320 students per school, compared with places such as Coffs Harbour, which has 1521 per school, according to the report from Suncorp Bank.

It also has a low crime rate, affordable housing and good childcare availability.

Canberra was second – boosted by high disposable incomes and good childcare – but Melbourne ranked 14th and Sydney 23rd, behind the other capitals Adelaide and Perth (equal fifth), Hobart (seventh) and Darwin (equal eighth).

Half of the top 10 family-friendly cities were smaller regional centres – Victoria and New South Wales’ top entry was the twin-cities of Albury-Wodonga, which did well on housing affordability, health and a sense of community.

Regional cities had a better balance of job opportunities, income, school sizes and lower crime rates, said Suncorp Bank head Craig Fenwick…

Here is the list.

    • 1st Launceston (TAS)
    • 2nd Canberra (ACT)
    • 3rd Toowoomba (QLD)
    • 4th Albury/Wodonga (VIC/NSW)
    • Equal 5th Adelaide (SA)
    • Equal 5th Perth (WA)
    • 7th Hobart (TAS)
    • Equal 8th Darwin (NT)
    • Equal 8th Bunbury (WA)
    • 10th Bundaberg (QLD)
    • Equal 11th Mackay (QLD)
    • Equal 11th Burnie (TAS)
    • 13th Mandurah (WA)
    • Equal 14th Melbourne (VIC)
    • Equal 14th Wagga Wagga (NSW)
    • Equal 16th Bendigo (VIC)
    • Equal 16th Townsville (QLD)
    • 18th Newcastle (NSW)
    • 19th Rockhampton (QLD)
    • 20th Sunshine Coast (QLD)
    • 21st Wollongong (NSW)
    • 22nd Ballarat (VIC)
    • 23rd Sydney (NSW)
    • 24th Brisbane (QLD)
    • 25th Geelong (VIC)
    • 26th Hervey Bay (QLD)
    • 27th Cairns (QLD)
    • Equal 28th Gold Coast (QLD)
    • Equal 28th LaTrobe Valley (VIC)
    • 30th Coffs Harbour (NSW)

Canberra? Second? That says it all, really. Winking smile