A move to the country. There’s been a lot written about this in the past few months. Housing prices in metropolitan areas have made a shift to country life appealing, along with shorter communities and better work/life balance as a result.
The population crisis facing our metropolitan areas would also seem to be a catalyst for a move. Melbourne is looking at housing 8.4 million people by 2050, roughly 83 percent of the Victorian population.
But still people linger in overcrowded cities like Melbourne and Sydney, attracted by the bright lights and career opportunities that seem to be condensed in a few cities that are, indeed, predicted to become mega-cities in the next 25 years.
A story about population growth and the need for decentralisation will inevitably be met on social media with a one-word rejoinder. Jobs. Build it and they will come, you say? Create the jobs and the people will follow, that’s what’s needed.
But that doesn’t always work. A case in point remains the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority. On November 25, 2016 it was announced that the APVMA would be relocated from Canberra to Armidale, in inland NSW. That’s great, you say, the Government helping a country town. Except many of the staff didn’t want to move. You can lead a horse to water ….
The country, on paper, can appeal to city-dwellers. Domain, our real estate arm, this week released details of the most affordable places in Victoria to buy a house, with the Murray River towns of Kerang and Cohuna on the list. You can buy a house in those towns for less than $250,000. But if you can’t get a job. Or, in reality, if you and your partner can’t get jobs, then you stay in the city. The big city – not the regional kind.
The reality of the need to hire for two-income families is a pinch-point for regional centres. There needs to be a more coordinated approach, facilitated by business leaders, to help couples who are looking to move find two jobs at the same time. If only one can find work, neither of them are likely to move on the off-chance something will come along.
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