Four strategies enticing people to Make the Move to regional Australia
Between 2006 and 2011, regional Australia’s population increased by more than half a million people. The average annual population growth rate for this period was 1.4 per cent. The Regional Australia Institute has been on the hunt to find out what regional communities have been doing to help drive this growth.
As part of the Innovation Watch project, the Regional Australia Institute (RAI) has been searching for examples of locally-led initiatives that encourage people to Make the Move to regional Australia.
We have featured stories from right across the country, from vibrant regional cities like Cairns in Queensland to small rural towns like Wirrulla in South Australia. Each community is putting a creative twist on their own initiative to entice people to live in their region.
Although each story is unique, four key strategies have emerged. These strategies offer practical insights for other communities looking to encourage people to make the move to their region.
Many of the initiatives use marketing as a tool to promote their community to other areas and showcase what makes their region such a great place to live. In particular regions are making the most of digital mediums to share engaging content.
Typically initiatives are promoting the lifestyle and the advantages of choosing to live in a regional area. Love the Life We Live in the NSW Orana region and the NSW Evocities speak to this approach. We Love KB (Kalgoorlie-Boulder) has taken their approach a step further, choosing to specifically promote local businesses and events.
As well as promoting the region, some initiatives used incentives to attract people to the area. The type of incentives vary significantly. For towns like Trundle, NSW that used the ‘rent-a-farmhouse’ initiative, cheap housing was on offer. In the case of Wirrulla, SA it was the chance to meet the love of your life with their original take on the TV series Farmer Wants A Wife.
Targeting your audience
Some communities identified a specific need or opportunity and used their resources to attract particular types of people.
Albury Wodonga and Wagga Wagga, NSW for example, targeted professions. Albury Wodonga created the Border Medical Recruitment Taskforce to provide practical, hands on support for medical professionals that had recently moved, or were looking to move, to the area. Women in Business Wagga Wagga are promoting the success stories of local women to prove you can have a fulfilling career and a great lifestyle in regional areas.
Nhill, VIC and Dalwallinu, WA took a very different approach, although they too wanted to combat shortages in their workforce. Both towns targeted international migrants and in just a few short years have seen significant increases in their population.
Orbost, VIC has taken arguably the most innovative approach by targeting older residents. Having been identified as an attractive destination for older people who are looking to make a change, the community turned to international examples to identify how they can use this opportunity to re-energise their community and local economy.
Activate the community
Innovation Watch is looking for community-led initiatives but these examples take it one step further. They are motivating large parts of their communities to be proactive and be the positive change they want to see in their regions.
Initiatives that are trying to activate their community are typically aiming to reinvigorate their town and remind people what a great place they live in.
For Bendigo, VIC, the Believe in Bendigo initiative was an opportunity to push back against negative media the city had been receiving. The yRepublic in Cairns, QLD aims to reconnect with millennials to create a “vibrant tropical city that attracts and retains young professionals, innovative entrepreneurs and start-ups.”
If your regional town or city has an initiative in place to entice people to the area, or you want to start one, think about how you are using these four strategies and how your community can make the biggest impact to create value.
If you are looking for inspiration, visit the Regional Australia Institute Blog to find out how other communities are using creative approaches to successfully drive growth in their region.
Want to see your community featured in this mix? Share your story via Innovation Watch to have your local initiative shared with a national audience.