Warrnambool has lost its mantle as Australia's most liveable city with a former mayor blaming a lack of civic leadership.
Michael Neoh failed to win a place at the council table in the recent local government election after being the leading poller in 2016.
He blamed former mayor Tony Herbert and sacked council chief executive officer Peter Schneider for Warrnambool sliding in four key performance indicators.
The four categories in which Warrnambool dropped were highlighted by social cohesion, followed by museums, galleries and festivals then shopping, leisure and dining and reliable and efficient public transport.
Mr Neoh said that under past CEO Bruce Anson Warrnambool had targeted liveability and earned the title of Australia's most liveable city in 2018.
Warrnambool and the south-west has now fallen outside the top 10 Australian locations and in the regional category fell to second behind the New South Wales Murray region.
Mr Neoh said Warrnambool's fall from No. 1 to 11th was a clear reflection of a lack of leadership.
"During the Anson era liveability was seen as a massive regional selling point," he said.
"It was a big thing to be seen not only competing with cosmopolitan capital cities but being rated higher.
"That success came on the back of the CBD redevelopment, developing the Performing Arts Centre, Reid Oval, the library, our focus on recreational spaces, art, culture and even Flagstaff Hill.
"To knock off all comers, including Melbourne and Perth was seen as a huge achievement and recognition of an enormous amount of hard work and planning.
"In just two years we have dropped from number one to number 11. That's the legacy of Tony Herbert and Peter Schneider."
Mr Neoh said the liveability factor was a huge selling point for people seeking a tree or sea change.
"Falling from number one to number 11 is not something I would expect Mr Herbert or Mr Schneider to put as career highlights on their resumes," he said.
"Perhaps the signs at the entrance to the city now need to be changed, scratch out the number one and replace it with number 11.
"We were certainly punching above our weight but that's clearly not the case any more. There has been no vision, we're not doing anything and if you're not then you are going backwards.
"People are still coming to the city and this is something the new council needs to address - our liveability rating.
"Look at land prices, people still want to come here from metropolitan Melbourne and other regions.
"House prices are a classic example of how successful we were. We've done it before and I'm sure we can do it again but it will take a lot of focus and hard work."
Adelaide's Central and Hills areas are the most liveable metropolitan locations in the country based on Ipsos's Life in Australia 2020 'Liveability Index' with a ranking of 71.5.
Adelaide was the only metropolitan location in the country that rated above average across all 16 liveability metrics.
Sydney dominated the 10 most liveable metropolitan locations with four areas: Sutherland in second spot, the city and Inner South (No. 6), North Sydney and Hornsby (No. 7) and Northern Beaches (no. 8).
Mr Herbert and Mr Schneider were both contacted for comment.
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