Which Australians live longest, feel safest and are the most inventive

Traffic congestion in Nth. Melbourne today, just one of the areas affected due to tram works in Elizabeth St.Age News Pic taken by John Woudstra April 24 2012
Traffic congestion in Nth. Melbourne today, just one of the areas affected due to tram works in Elizabeth St.Age News Pic taken by John Woudstra April 24 2012

???Melburnians cop some of the country's worst traffic, Canberrans are the most inventive and those in Albury-Wodonga will live the shortest lives, according to an Australian-first comparison of our cities.

Assistant Minister for Cities Angus Taylor will launch the federal government tool, known as the National Cities Performance Framework, on Friday. It compares Australia's 21 largest cities, plus Western Sydney, on indicators covering jobs and skills, housing, infrastructure, liveability, innovation and planning.

Just 60 per cent of Melbourne residents can drive to work inside half an hour. Only Sydney, at 58 per cent, was worse.

A car journey taken during the morning or afternoon peak in Melbourne takes 57 per cent longer than at other times, or 68 per cent longer in Sydney.

Mr Taylor said shorter commute times mean less time wasted, and more time for people to work, study and enjoy leisure activities, so "we need to move people around quickly and easily".

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull wants to create "30-minute cities" where jobs, schools and recreation activities are within half an hour from any home. However Mr Taylor said the data shows "there is still some way to go" on the goal, especially in bigger cities.

Sydney and Western Sydney had the lowest suicides per 100,000 people (9.8 and 10.2), while Mackay in Queensland had the highest (19.5).

A person born in Melbourne or Sydney today is expected to live to 83.7 years - the longest life expectancy of any city and almost three full years longer than Albury-Wodonga (80.8).

Melbourne households had one of the lowest rates of rental stress (when rent is more than 30 per cent of income). The city's business entry rate - the share of businesses that started trading over the past year - was higher than average, at 15.8 per cent of the total registered. Gold Coast-Tweed had the highest rate at 17 per cent, followed by Sydney.

About 61 per cent of people from the Sunshine Coast feel safe walking in their local area, the highest national result. People from Cairns, Townsville and Western Sydney felt least safe.

At 96 per cent, Ballarat residents were most likely to feel they could get help outside their household - from a friend, relative or support service - in a time of crisis. No city had a rate lower than 90 per cent.

Perth has the lowest obesity rate (23 per cent), while Toowomba has the highest (36.3 per cent).

Among capital cities Perth residents were also the highest direct emitters per capita of greenhouse gas emissions. Canberrans emitted the least.

Canberrans were the most ingenious - almost 56 people in every 100,000 had a patent approved last year for an invention. Canberra homes also enjoyed the most access to green space, followed by Wollongong and Newcastle-Maitland.

The data is designed to help governments, industry and communities to make better decisions. It will be updated each year.

This story Which Australians live longest, feel safest and are the most inventive first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.