Sydney vs Melbourne rivalry

Political power will swing further to Melbourne at the expense of Sydney and regional areas outside of Queensland, with the southern capital city on track to reclaim the title as Australia’s largest population centre by the next decade.


Hasn’t Melbourne already been bigger for a long time, if you don’t count the central coast area as part of Sydney?


I think it was only last year with some boundary changes that Melbourne became the largest city in AUS?

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That’s correct, Melbourne overtook Sydney in 2015 if you exclude the Central Coast from the definition.

One could argue any definition of Sydney that includes the Central Coast should mean that Melbourne should include Geelong as well.

That’s correct, Melton was previously excluded from the definition of Melbourne as well (which didn’t really make sense).


Considering that, and what we’ve known for a long time, it’s annoying that lazy journalists keep writing the same article every single year about Sydney/Melbourne population


The Central Coast’s inclusion is because it has a large contingent of the population who work/school in Sydney, so it’s seen statistically as being part of Sydney.

Does the same apply to Geelong and Melbourne? I don’t know the answer to that, but answering that may give some indication as to why it’s not included.

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I don’t think it’s as high as between Central Coast/Sydney, but it has increased quite a bit over the years especially with increased train frequencies on that line.

Given that the Central Coast is not a contiguous part of Sydney though (with the gap over the Hawkesbury) it does open up an argument on the inclusion of other cities with large commuter populations (such as the Gold Coast and Wollongong) that are not contiguous with the main city i.e. what threshold of commuter population equals inclusion.

I can understand the reasoning both ways though.

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There’s a huge amount of work and education between Geelong and Melbourne, both ways since the state government started moving things to Geelong as well.

I’d think Sydney’s population is just too constrained by reasonable supply of housing - the demand is there for it to continue to be the bigger city, but Melbourne has less of a natural barrier to sprawl and has embraced inner city density far more than Sydney has, maybe the slow lifting of some of those height caps might address that over time, but Melbourne has a big head start.

I know some people who moved to Sydney because they got a better job offer, but they end up more or less in the same spot financially because of how much of a hit they took on increased rent. It’s not perfect in Melbourne by any stretch, but I think it’s the biggest difference in the population growth potential of the cities.


Sydney and the surrounding regions are also constrained by geography, pretty much everywhere you can build has already been built to an extent- there’s a lot more room for growth in cities within 2-3 hours of Melbourne- Bendigo, Ballarat ,Seymour, Shepparton, Latrobe Valley- all could feasibly increase their population significantly as they have plenty of land around them that could be suitable to develop housing on. In NSW your regional cities with room to grow are all significantly further away (such as Dubbo, Orange, Wagga, Tamworth etc.)

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Also further down the line, Sydney, especially away from the water is going to be more and more unliveable due to the weather conditions.

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There are two populations measurements used to define a city’s scale and size by population in Australia.

Significant Urban Area - usually defined by building density boarders.

Greater Metropolitan Area - includes the above along with satellite suburbs. (This scale includes the Central Coast etc) but Geelong is not currently included.

Currently Melbourne overtook Sydney last year in the Significant Urban Area scale and is predicted to overtake Sydney later this decade in the Greater Metropolitan Area scale.

Melbourne also currently has the largest Television and Radio Markets.

Hope that clears it up.


One of the issues is that the supply in a lot of instances already exists - it’s either empty or in short-term rental.

Stopping properties from being empty long-term would go a long way to improving supply (especially higher density living)


I’ve made a big decision. I shall run for Lord Mayor of Melbourne in October. Will make an official announcement soon when I reveal my running mate and policies to get this city back on its feet.

— Lisbeth Gorr (@Libbi_Gorr) February 29, 2024

“get this city back on its feet” suggests Gorr hasn’t been in the city anytime in the last 6-12 months. Bumping Christmas period and one of the best Australian Opens ever.

I believe Derryn Hinch posted that tweet verbatim a few days earlier

Yeh, its a joke lol