Jobs and housing remain a drawcard for tree-changers

With 87,000 jobs on offer in country Australia, more people are moving further away from capital cities to make a new life.

A booming regional job market and attractive house prices are thought to be luring new residents to places like Geraldton in Western Australia and Mudgee, NSW, which are both four hours from their state capitals.

Those locations are among the top five growth hotspots for internal migration in the year to June, along with York and Waroona in WA and Townsville in Queensland, according to population data from the Regional Movers Index.

The Index, which is a collaboration between the Commonwealth Bank and Regional Australia Institute, found people are also leaving big regional centres like Launceston in Tasmania and Dubbo in NSW for more rural areas.

“It clearly shows the love affair with regional living is far from over and highlights the importance of resourcing the social and physical infrastructure these growing places urgently need,” the institute’s chief executive Liz Ritchie said.

Queensland continues to be the most attractive state for those leaving the capital cities, as people choose to settle in major coastal regions.

Commonwealth Bank’s head of regional and agribusiness Paul Fowler said regional areas could continue to grow as big employers ramp up recruitment.

“Growth in local economies and opportunities in sectors such as wholesale trade, manufacturing, health and education will continue to entice people to regional areas,” Mr Fowler said.

Overall movement across Australia remained much higher than before COVID-19, with greater momentum in population flows from the regions to the cities.

A survey of 1004 city-dwellers considering a country move showed space, affordability, improved wellbeing and having more time were some of the major draw cards.

Greater job flexibility since the height of the pandemic increased interest in regional living for 73 per cent of respondents.

Though cost of living concerns were increasing, it is largely high income earners who would consider moving more than three hours away from their current home, the survey found.


Stephanie Gardiner
(Australian Associated Press)


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