Shepparton more liveable than Geelong

By James Bennett

Shepparton is the 14th most liveable regional city in the country - easily beating places such as Geelong.

In research conducted by Ipsos from the Regional Australia Liveability Index, Shepparton was ranked as an "above average" regional city last year.

Shepparton was scored 60.9 which is significantly above the average across the 42 Australian regional cities sitting at 59.3.

Taking out the top prize was Warrnambool and south-west Victoria, while Ballarat finished sixth, North West Victoria eighth and Bendigo 12th.

Shepparton ranked "below average" in just three of the 16 categories used to determine liveability.

They were feeling safe, high quality heath services and prosperous economy.

Shepparton received high scores in access to the natural environment, lack of road congestion, connectivity, a strong sense of community and social cohesion.

It also received above average scores for affordable, decent housing; high-quality education standards; reliable and efficient public transport; and shopping, leisure and dining.

Committee for Greater Shepparton chief executive Sam Birrell said it was a strong result.

“One key thing we need to understand is it perception when it comes to crime and feeling safe in Shepparton,” he said.

“People outside of Shepparton have this perception that this isn't a liveable place but when they live here for a while they quickly realise this is a great liveable city.

“I completely agree that we're below average on high quality health services but we know that will soon change with the hospital.

“It's really pleasing Shepparton received a high score for access to natural environment considering places such as Warranmbool have that advantage of being on the coast.”

Mr Birrell said with new infrastructure and services set to be completed with in the next five years, he expected Shepparton to rise in the rankings.

“With the new SAM, education and hospital being built I expect Shepparton to continue to improve on those rankings,” he said.

Greater Shepparton City Council mayor Kim O'Keeffe said there were always opportunities to improve.

“Stage two of the hospital is an example of how we can improve the quality of health,” she said.

“Getting that funding is on top of council's priority list and we advocated hard for stage one already.

“We have new opportunities that can go into improving the economy such as the cannabis farm and we know revitalising the CBD is a big thing when it comes to liveability.”

Shepparton also rated highly on viewing and participating in sports and recreation.

And Cr O'Keeffe said that did not come as a surprise.

“We've attracted world class sporting events in the past few years,” she said.

“Organisers are choosing Shepparton as a location to host sport because we have great facilities.

“This is why we're pushing hard to upgrade the Shepparton Sports Stadium with the federal government.”

Cr O'Keeffe said Shepparton was starting to be "finally" recognised outside of the Goulburn Valley.

“People are putting us in line with Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong which would normally never come into conversation,” she said.

“I know other mayors from those towns are talking to me about the positive amount of growth they're seeing in Shepparton.”

Central Queensland ranked the lowest in the country while other lower-ranked Victorian regions included Geelong at 18th, Latrobe/Gippsland 22nd and Hume 32nd.

What makes Shepparton better than Geelong 

  1. Our Mooving Cows
  2. Traffic - how's that Boxing Day rush
  3. Rich agricultural land; gateway to the food bowl
  4. Doesn't rely on an AFL team to put the town on the map
  5. Community spirit