At the other end of the scale, the big cities of Melbourne, Perth and Sydney ranked poorly.
Property groups have commissioned a KPMG audit which ranks capitals on effective city planning, including managing population growth, traffic congestion, and housing affordability.
The audit found smaller cities like Adelaide, Canberra and Darwin functioned the best.
Adelaide shone for being affordable and well-planned, while Brisbane joined its smaller counterparts in scoring well. The Queensland capital was praised for having good planning policies.
Sydney was panned for being unaffordable with too much traffic; planning policies were not great and were not implemented properly.
Melbourne was a mixed bag. The auditors found that good planning policies were in place, but authorities failed to deliver on the ground.
The audit was commissioned by “Built Environment Meets Parliament” (BEMP), an alliance of property groups including the Property Council of Australia and the Australian Institute of Architects.
The average mark for capital cities was 55 per cent. BEMP said the audit was a wake-up call to the federal government to be more hands-on with capital city planning.
Canberra should set a national urban policy with targets, streamline planning approval, and get involved in land release, the group said.
BEMP will hold a summit in parliament house on Wednesday to talk about what should be done.