The benefits of country living in review.
2019 was a big year for the Riverina in many positive ways, so for this month, we’d like to take you on a journey of all the great stories, people and triumphs we have covered on Country Change.
It’s no secret that the cost of living in metro areas is at least double the cost of living in regional Australia – sometimes more. But it’s not until after people make their country change that they realise city life was costing them far more than just money.
Do you need to work long hours to barely afford your modest home? Is work taking away the time you’d love to spend with your family? Are the long, daily commutes slowly wearing you down? Are you constantly stressed about money? Feel disconnected and trapped?
The reality is – it doesn’t have to be this way. You work hard and you deserve to enjoy what you’ve worked for. You can have a spacious family home with a stress-free mortgage AND have the time and energy to enjoy it as well.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the mean residential costs for Australians in 2018 is $687,700. That’s the figure for the middle point of all the housing prices across the entire country.
Check out the Riverina by comparison:
Data Source: NSW Department of Communities and Justice (March 2019 Quarter unless otherwise specified) https://public.tableau.com/profile/facs.statistics#!/vizhome/Rentandsales_15565127794310/Rent
Despite common misconceptions, there’s no shortage of opportunities in our thriving region. The Riverina is growing fast, and so is the need for skilled workers across a broad range of industries not normally associated with the country.
In fact, statistics reveal businesses are trying harder than ever to fill these positions. Data available from the Labour Market Information Portal shows internet vacancy rates for the Riverina-Murray region has increased by nearly 90% over the past nine years. On top of that, nearly 25 per cent of the region’s workforce is aged 55 or older with around 7,700 people expected to retire in the next two to five years.
“By 2022, the region is expected to grow by 10,000 people. We desperately need higher skilled people (Degree or higher) as well as tradespeople like plumbers, welders and electricians…Businesses need people who are adaptable. People who are multi-skilled but also willing to broaden their minds and skillsets,” said Rachel Whiting, CEO of Regional Development Australia Riverina.
Read More Here:
What jobs are in demand & where?
The region’s top employing industries (41,000 people 54% of all jobs) are fishing, agriculture, forestry, healthcare, social assistance, manufacturing, retail or education and training locals.
There is also a great need for more skills sets such as welders, electricians, veterinarians, farmers, business analysts and engineers (electrical, mechanical, industrial and civil) to name just a few.
As our community continues to attract new residents and visitors every day, it’s natural that our community services area is stretching to accommodate the increase in population. But couple that with our ageing workforce (and many nearing retirement in the next few years), we’re faced with a very real need to attract highly skilled professionals in health, trades and professional services.
Who are we looking for? Well, highest on our radar right now are allied health workers, GPs and nurses, but as a growing community, we’re really looking across the board at all skill sets and proficiencies.
Where do we need them? While none of our towns are exempt from needing skilled workers, there’s more attention on filling roles in Temora, Hay, Leeton and Narrandera.
Why do we need them? As well as the expected increase in our population, one in four (27%) employers in the Riverina are planning to increase their staff numbers over the next year. They need people to fill these roles, but many employers are struggling with recruitment and retention. Generally, the consensus amongst employers is that there’s either not enough applicants or there’s a lack of technical skills required.
Read More Here:
We have a myth to dispel and it may shock you. Country life is far from boring. In fact, if you choose it, your life and career, could get a ‘big buzz’ injection.
Griffith is an example of this.
The population of Griffith itself is over 26,000, servicing an area in excess of 50,000 people. And it’s growing, with the 15-year population projection to tip over the 30,500 mark. There are over 70 nationalities represented across the population, which has contributed to the town’s diverse and vibrant local economy, food and wine industries, and the thriving cultural scene.
A survey conducted by Bernard Salt and the team from The Demographics Group concluded that Griffith is one of the most livable country destinations in Australia!
Read more here:
As a parent, you want to do as much as humanly possible to raise wonderful adults that are balanced, well-educated and empathetic. You worry about bad influences, giving them enough of your time and sending them to the right school.
With so much to weigh-up and consider as a parent, it’s not surprising that one of the first questions people ask before they make a tree change is, “What are the schools and teachers like?”
This was also a consideration for now married Coolamon school teachers, Kaarin (28) and Thomas Besgrove (28) who said they “couldn’t think of a better place to raise a family – to know there is the support and community that cares, means the world to us,”
Read their story here:
As they say, location is everything and the Riverina definitely has that with great access to Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne; as well as major regional centres.
The Greater Hume is a shining example of access. This Shire is conveniently located between New South Wales’ two biggest inland regional cities, Wagga Wagga and Albury, in the southern Riverina region. The Shire of 10,509 people is comprised of five towns – Henty, Culcairn, Walla Walla, Jindera, and Holbrook – and six villages, which presents a diverse array of choice and opportunity for country changers taking up the chance to live the life they’ve been wanting.
Education options, jobs, business opportunities, red-tape reduction for startups, and less mortgage stress, all within an easy drive to the conveniences of two major regional cities.
Find out more here:
This well-deserved title was bestowed upon Temora after a bus full of Sydney-siders heralded into the main street that day, and proceeded to put it on the map. But it wasn’t the amazing facilities, their sporting prowess, and not even its schools or surroundings that did it… it was the people.
Temora put themselves on the map yet again last year, with the recent release of Temora’s Great Quack Quest music dance video to promote the town to prospective GPs. Within 48 hours, the video had received upwards of 45,000 views on Facebook – and Temora did it again featuring on media outlets far and wide, and even several TV news programs. It’s just one more example of the passion, the genuine care, and the vision for the future held dear by this special community.
Read More Here:
By now you’ve probably heard of Snowy Hydro 2.0 in the Snowy Valleys.
In short, the Snowy Valleys isn’t just a powerhouse for energy production, it’s an economic powerhouse in the making.
Council has identified several emerging economic drivers in their ‘Planning for Prosperity’ strategic plan. For discerning country changers, there’s a variety of opportunities ripe for the picking – both in terms of industry and employment, as well as the lifestyle perks.
Bordered by both Victoria and the ACT, the Snowy Valleys Council region is the gateway to the pristine wilderness of the Snowy Mountains. The population of more than 14,400 is spread across the main towns of Tumbarumba, Tumut, Batlow and Adelong, with several smaller townships dotted throughout the Council down to the foothills of the mountains.
Find out more about the shire here:
You may have read all about the recent government investment into regional towns and the new opportunities for business. Cootamundra and Gundagai are testament to this growth with the Council investing money into upgrades and helping businesses.
The council recently upgraded Gundagai’s main street, which is expected to have a positive impact on the local small business scene.
In terms of the job market, Cootamundra-Gundagai is on the verge of a boom, thanks to the $43.5 million of state government funding for infrastructure and community-based council development projects to be delivered throughout 2019 and 2020.
Given the area’s prime location between Sydney and Melbourne on the Hume Highway, it’s only a matter of time before Country Changers start seizing these new business opportunities.
Read about the opportunities here:
Moving to a new town can come with challenges. New home. New schools. New job and of course, new neighbours and community. It can be overwhelming but it a town like Leeton, you’ll be made to feel right at home – and quickly!
Leeton has a long and passionate history of welcoming newcomers. Mayor Paul Maytom has long been a passionate supporter of welcoming migrants and refugees into Leeton, and continues to be a strong proponent of several volunteer and local government initiatives to help settle migrants and refugees into town.
“We provide relationship, friendship, connection – filling the gaps and supporting people who have moved far from their homeland,” said Mayor Maytom, “We have people from Malaysia, the Philippines, Kiribati, The Solomon Islands, Afghanistan – and everyone is welcomed.”
Read about this great community here:
As more Australians seek the work-life balance more people are turning towards a Country Change; and Narrandera is proving a popular choice!
This lifestyle is a reflection of the Shire Council’s key focus areas; community and culture, environmental sustainability, and economic prosperity. Not only are these factors key to a healthy, low-stress lifestyle, but it’s also a recipe for business success.
Narrandera, along with the Shire’s villages, Grong Grong, Binya and Barellan, is a place where heart-centred, community-focused businesses of all sizes can prosper.
The Narrandera Shire Council actively invests in a healthy and culturally diverse community, which is reflected in enterprises such as The Cad Factory. This artist-led organisation creates an international program of new, immersive and experimental work guided by authentic exchange, ethical principles, people and place.
Read about some of these successful businesses here:
When you lose the long commutes, sky-high mortgages and congested highways; and you set up your home or business in an area with low rates, low unemployment and great internet connectivity– it’s easy to see how it pays to become a country changer.
Head 520 kilometres south-west of Sydney and you’ll find an emerging powerhouse of connected and thriving businesses. Despite having a population of just 3,200, Lockhart Shire entrepreneurs are fired up to outperform city-based competitors and step onto a global stage. In fact, the region is an incubator for small business. Lockhart Shire’s go-getting businesses using digital technology to create, connect and conquer!
With affordable shopfront opportunities and industrial land up for grabs, its fast NBN access is helping many business owners and even employees (like Cathy Cullen who works for her Sydney employer from her home in Lockhart) make their country change a smooth transition without barriers to success.
Read more about the digital boom here:
Interested in making a Country Change in 2020?
We have a range of resources and people to help, so get in touch with us today to make the Riverina part of #yourfuture