There’s no place like home (in regional Australia)
As many regional-born Australians return to the city after visiting family and friends over the break, daydreams of resettling their roots in familiar ground may linger long after the smells of Christmas ham and summer BBQs have faded away.
And with more Australians aged 25-44 moving from cities to regional areas than vice versa, it might be a more common occurrence than we think. According to the Regional Australia Institute, ‘Returners’ make up a significant pattern in internal migration that often fails to be recognised as a positive – and popular – life choice for many Australians.
Drawing on conversations with ‘Returners’ from across regional Australia, Talking point: returning to regional Australia, released today, says the increasing value of lifestyle, proximity to friends and family and access to schools, childcare and health services are making regional areas an attractive alternative to capital cities. Affordability is also key, with the reduced cost of housing and overall cost of living in many regions a definite drawcard.
For Kerry Grace, a local from Macksville, New South Wales, it was the appeal of bringing her three children up in a familiar place, and owning her own home, that first led to the decision. Now having returned over 10 years ago, Kerry is running her own strategic planning and coaching company, and says she hasn’t looked back.
“With the city only a short flight away and access to online work, so many opportunities have been opened up to regional Australians,” she says. “I’ve made new and beautiful friendships, my business is flourishing, my kids go to a good school. It might not be for everybody, but for the people who are considering it I would say don’t stop and think – just do it. The quality of life, affordability, environment and lifestyle really make it a no brainer.”
The RAI’s General Manager of Research and Policy, Jack Archer, says that this is a real win-win for regions and Returners alike. Not only do Returners help to revitalise regional areas, but they also bring with them important professional skills that help to grow and develop their communities.
“Obviously there is a natural drawcard in regional areas that resonates strongly with many Australians,” he said. “We want to encourage more people to give it a go and help regions connect with people who might be looking to make the move, and promoting it as a real, positive and achievable life choice.”
In Australia between 2010 and 2011, over 135,000 people left a capital city to move interstate or into a regional area. Of these:
- 2,374 people moved from Hobart to regional TAS
- 34,551 people moved from Sydney to regional NSW
- 30,576 moved from Melbourne to regional VIC
- 37,016 moved from Brisbane to regional QLD
- 11,252 moved from Adelaide to regional SA
- 19,981 moved from Perth to regional WA
Overall, this domestic mobility led to an increase in Australia’s regional population by 10,597 people.
Are you a regional Returner? Or perhaps you’ve been thinking about making the move for a while? We’d love to hear from you about what drives your desire to move back home, or what the impediments are. You can get involved by commenting below, or heading to the ‘Have Your Say’ section of the website. You can also join the discussion on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
To download ‘Talking point: returning to regional Australia’ click here.
*Based on ABS Migration, Australia 2010-11 Catalogue No. 34120