ACT News

Canberra-bashers out in force after OECD 'best city' announcement

OECD has done the research and come up with the completely proper conclusion that Canberra is the best place in the world to live, writes Ben Westcott.

As Canberrans were enjoying life in the best city in the world on Wednesday morning, interstate killjoys were determined to ruin our day with a spot of Canberra bashing.

It comes after an OECD ranking confirmed, once again, that Canberra was the best place to live in the world, beating out the competition on education, income, jobs and environment, among many other factors.

Bashing shame: The 'Wide Brown Land' at the arboretum has been described as a 'giant poo-like sculpture'.
Bashing shame: The 'Wide Brown Land' at the arboretum has been described as a 'giant poo-like sculpture'. Photo: Karleen Minney

While ACT residents smiled smugly and nodded at what we already knew, the whinging from interstate rose to a crescendo on Wednesday as out-of-towners called foul on the new report.

In a Herald Sun article, South Australian senator Nick Xenophon called the report a "waste of time and money" and "self-indulgent crap", asking whether the OECD had "better things to do".

Melbourne lord mayor Robert Doyle also joined in, saying Canberra might have only come up number one because it was a statistical report and Canberra was 'the public servant capital of the world'.

"If Canberra is so liveable, how come the airport departure lounge is always full?" he said in the article.


Prime minister Tony Abbott would not be drawn on whether Canberra was the best city in the world.

"Well Canberra's a lovely city, so's Sydney, so's Melbourne, so's Adelaide, so's Perth, so's Brisbane," he said.

In comparison, 3AW Melbourne radio host Neil Mitchell was having none of it, declaring Canberra was "as soulless as the Docklands", an infamously empty concrete jungle in the Victorian capital.

Over at, staff writer and ex-Canberran Anthony Sharwood listed a range of what he saw as the city's flaws, including bad city planning, poor fashion, and the Wide Brown Land sign, which he described as a 'giant poo-like sculpture on the hill'.

"People say Canberra doesn't have a soul and they're right. But before you have a soul you need a personality. You need to be comfortable in your own skin and just be you. Canberra's still working on all that. But it's slowly getting there," he wrote.

Meanwhile ACT politicians were very pleased with the announcement, with Canberra MP's Gai Brodtmann and Andrew Leigh joining chief minister Katy Gallagher and treasurer Andrew Barr in crowing about the announcement.

Chief minister Katy Gallagher said on Wednesday although the views of Canberra bashers were "ill-informed and ignorant" they were not surprising.

"Maybe it is time that Canberra's critics take a trip to their national capital and experience the city first hand," she said.

"Canberrans can be proud of the city that we have built together and the views of those who don't appreciate Canberra should not affect the way we continue to grow as a city into the future."