ACT wellbeing highest in the country, says OECD

ACT wellbeing highest in the country, says OECD

The ACT enjoys the highest level of wellbeing in the country, leading otherstates and territories in six of eight categories, according to OECD research.

The regional wellbeing report compared 362 regions across the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s 34 member countries. The rankings out of 10 gave the ACT a perfect score on crime, average household disposable income, and voter turnout.

The territory also topped Australia inhealthcare, unemployment, access to services, and education.

Ben Phillips, principal research fellow at the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling, said the results were not surprising as the ACT was statistically the best state or territory in Australia.

''We've known for a long time that Canberra had the highest income of major Australian capital cities,'' he said. ''It has had the lowest unemployment rate of major capital cities and either the top, or close to the top, life expectancy. By all the major statistics, Canberra comes out on top in Australia.


"We've got high rates of education and high rates of employment. Drop-out rates from high school are very low, so you've really got a much better educated population in Canberra than you doin most other parts of the country, and that would stack up favourably to the rest of the world.''

With the federal budget heralding cuts to the public service, Mr Phillips said the report's labour-force statistics may be lagging, but ''we haven’t seen any great impact yet''. He said many of the cuts were to agencies such as the Australian Tax Office, with many workers outside the territory.

But it appears that Canberra's dirty little secret may be high household emissions – the OECD report pegs the ACT at number six of the eight states and territories. Mr Phillips said he suspected that ''because we're quite a wealthy city, our household emissions might be higher than others''.

But the ACT's air quality has not changed much since 2000, unlike Victoria, the Northern Territory and Western Australia where air quaility deteriorated. Most states and territories had progressed in terms of education, employment, income levels, health and accessible internet, but most had not changed much in terms of homocide rates and voter turnout.

An OECD education report card issued in December last year demonstrated that Australian students were performing better than the OECD average, but their results were slipping and were racked by inequity.