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Announcing Australia's most sustainable city ... a groundbreaking new index reveals that wasteful consumption of resources, substantial population growth, poor planning decisions and lack of infrastructure investment has come at a cost to our economy, society and the environment. So how does your city rate?

SIX MONTHS IN THE MAKING, the inaugural ACF Sustainable Cities Index covers a broad range of environmental, social and economic issues and provides a snapshot of the performance of each of Australia's 20 largest cities.

Cities were ranked in order of comparative performance from I (most sustainable) to 20 (least sustainable) based on 15 different indicators covering environment, quality of life and resilience factors.

In 2010, Darwin has emerged as Australia's most sustainable city, scoring highly on biodiversity, household repayments and employment, despite coming second-last on ecological footprint and health indicators. Darwin was followed closely by the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane. In contrast, Newcastle, Geelong and finally Perth came out as Australia's least sustainable cities in 2010.

Unfortunately, no city did well across all 15 indicators; and while each has its own unique strengths and weaknesses, no Australian city can yet be held up as a real champion in sustainable urban development. For instance: Darwin is almost eight times less sustainable than the ideal city (one that would rank first on all 15 indicators), while Perth is only 1.5 times less sustainable than Darwin.

Where to from here?

Given that cities are responsible for generating 75 per cent of our employment and 80 per cent of our GDP, they are the key to Australia's long-term economic prosperity and will form the basis for whether we can create a healthier and more sustainable future for all Australians.

Toward this, all of our cities would benefit immediately from increased and better-targeted investment to provide:

* Efficient, affordable and healthy transport choices: reducing our oil dependence and vulnerability;

* Improved energy and water efficiency for both households and workplaces: protecting Australians from future price rises.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

ACF hopes that the ACF Sustainable Cities Index will assist our car-dependent cities, which today fuel asthma, obesity and biodiversity loss, to be transformed into cleaner, more efficient places with great public and active transport, improved amenity, and happier, healthier residents.

Sustainable Cities

ACF is calling for:

* A well-designed and well-funded 10-year Smart Energy Use Program to cut energy waste that builds on the 2009 COAG National Energy Efficiency Strategy;

* Implement world's best practice energy and water efficiency standards for all new buildings and homes by 2020;

* Work with state, territory and local governments to provide incentives and remove impediments for rapid progress to green precincts and healthy carbon-neutral cities.

www.acfonline.org.au/nationalagenda

For more information visit: www.acfonline. org.au/citiesindex

1st

Darwin

Air Quality                 ********
Ecological Footprint               *
Green Building                  ****
Water                           ****
Biodiversity               *********
Health                             *
Density                    1/2 *****
Subjective Wellbeing        ********
Transport                   ********
Employment             1/2 *********
Climate Change                1/2 **
Public Participation       1/2 *****
Education                    *******
Household Repayments    1/2 ********
Food Production              *******

2nd

Sunshine Coast

Air Quality            1/2 *********
Green Building              1/2 ****
Health                  1/2 ********
Transport                      *****
Household Repayments               *

3rd

Brisbane

Ecological Footprint           1/2 *
Green Building             *********
Density                        1/2 *
Transport                   1/2 ****
Climate Change               1/2 ***

4th

Townsville

Air Quality                    *****
Green Building                 1/2 *
Biodiversity           1/2 *********
Education                 1/2 ******
Food Production            1/2 *****

5th

Canberra-Queanbeyan

Ecological Footprint             1/2
Green Building         1/2 *********
Density                        1/2 *
Climate Change                     *
Household Repayments       *********

6th

Hobart
Air Quality                *********
Biodiversity                 *******
Transport                      1/2 *
Climate Change                   ***
Household Repayments        ********

7th

Melbourne

Ecological Footprint           *****
Biodiversity                     ***
Subjective Wellbeing             ***
Education               1/2 ********
Public Participation              **

8th

Gold Coast--Tweed

Ecological Footprint         1/2 ***
Water                  1/2 *********
Density                     1/2 ****
Climate Change          1/2 ********
Public Participation

9th

Cairns

Water                   1/2 ********
Density                         ****
Transport              1/2 *********
Employment                       1/2
Education                     ******

10th

Bendigo

Air Quality             1/2 ********
Ecological Footprint    1/2 ********
Density
Public Participation   1/2 *********
Household Repayments            ****

11th

Toowoomba

Water                    1/2 *******
Biodiversity                  ******
Employment                 *********
Climate Change
Education                    1/2 ***

12th

Sydney

Ecological Footprint              **
Green Building             1/2 *****
Health                           ***
Density                1/2 *********
Public Participation             1/2

13th

Launceston

Air Quality               1/2 ******
Employment                    ******
Climate Change                   1/2
Education
Household Repayments     1/2 *******

Equal 14th

Adelaide

Air Quality                  1/2 ***
Green Building          1/2 ********
Health                        1/2 **
Transport                        1/2
Education                  1/2 *****

Equal 14th

Ballarat

Biodiversity                  1/2 **
Subjective Wellbeing       1/2 *****
Employment
Household Repayments             ***
Food Production        1/2 *********

15th

Albury-Wodonga

Ecological Footprint    1/2 ********
Water                       1/2 ****
Density                        *****
Climate Change                 1/2 *
Education                      1/2 *

16th

Wollongong

Air Quality                      1/2
Ecological Footprint          ******
Health                           1/2
Transport                  *********
Public Participation           1/2 *

17th

Newcastle

Air Quality
Density                    *********
Transport                     ******
Climate Change         1/2 *********
Food Production                  ***

18th

Geelong

Ecological Footprint         *******
Green Building                1/2 **
Health                            **
Public Participation           *****
Education                        ***

19th

Perth

Green Building               1/2 ***
Water
Employment               1/2 *******
Public Participation               *
Education                1/2 *******

For the complete picture visit:
www.acfonline.org.au/citiesindex
COPYRIGHT 2010 Australian Conservation Foundation
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2010 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Trigg, Matthew
Publication:Habitat Australia
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Jul 1, 2010
Words:748
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