Bush renaissance: Exodus from the cities continues

The lockdowns in southern states did not stop the exodus to Queensland’s regional areas, according to a study from the Commonwealth Bank and the Regional Australia Institute.

Oct 28, 2021, updated Oct 28, 2021
The southern lockdowns have not stopped to move to regional Qld

The southern lockdowns have not stopped to move to regional Qld

Its Regional Movers Index showed that the number of capital city residents moving to regional areas rose 2 percent during the September quarter, and 3 per cent from a year earlier.

The big coastal centres close to capital cities continued to attract the largest numbers of metro movers. The Gold Coast was again the most popular destination, followed by the Sunshine Coast, Greater Geelong in Victoria and then Wollongong and Lake Macquarie in NSW.

Of these top five local government areas, the Sunshine Coast recorded the strongest annual growth in migration from capital cities (up by 16 per cent) while Lake Macquarie recorded the highest quarterly growth (up by 17 per cent). 

The study also found there was an “ongoing regional renaissance’’ which was supported by a strong agriculture sector.

“As much of the country begins to come out of lockdown, we can expect to see the trend of Australians moving to the regions continue, as we know that when regional Australia does well, the impacts are felt across the country,” the bank’s Grant Cairns said.

“Despite the lockdowns in NSW and Victoria, we have seen key projects – such as infrastructure projects – create more jobs in the regions. More job opportunities combined with the fact that many Australians have the opportunity to work remotely means we will likely continue to see a shift in the number of people choosing to live in the regions,”  Cairns said.

While the two coasts were the biggest magnets, the study found the Douglas Shire in far north Queensland and the Western Downs, based in Dalby, were among five local government areas where there was the biggest growth in internal migration.

RAI chief executive Liz Ritchie says people living in our country and coastal towns were also tending to stay put, rather than moving to capital cities, which has seen regional net migration jump 14 percent during the September quarter.

 “Sydney was in lockdown for the entire September quarter and Melbourne for two-thirds of it and still we see an increase in the overall number of people choosing a regional lifestyle,” Ritchie said.

 “This only underlines what our research has found – that Australians have woken up to the huge range of job and lifestyle opportunities available in our regions.”


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