‘No longer a barrier’: CQ’s lifestyle shift for workers
THERE is hope that the forced shift towards more flexible working patterns prompted by the coronavirus pandemic will boost the population of regional Australia.
New data from the Regional Australia Institute shows that between 2011 and 2016, more than 1.2 million people either moved to regional Australia or moved around regional Australia from one location to another.
RAI CEO Liz Ritchie said the notion of how people worked had been turned on its head by COVID-19 and hoped the change would mean significant population growth in regions, following a trend that has been set over a decade.
"From 2011 to 2016, our two biggest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, lost more residents to regions than they gained - and this was well before COVID-19," she said.
"Over the last few months, we've all had to change how we work, and this has allowed staff and employers to see that location is no longer a barrier for where we choose to work," Ms Ritchie said.
In Gladstone, there has been speculation that intrastate movement has been partially responsible for a tightening rental vacancy rate.
Gladstone MP and Minister for Regional Development Glenn Butcher said the liveability of communities such as Gladstone and Rockhampton had advantages for people who weren't tied to a specific location.
"Liveability in these cities is critical - between most people's homes and the CBD or shopping centres is a maximum five-minute drive," he said.
In Central Queensland, he said being close to the beaches of Agnes Water and Tannum Sands or camping spots in the Boyne Valley offered plenty of opportunity for people to enjoy life outside of work.
Population growth in a city like Gladstone would also help attract more specialist medical services.
The report, The Big Moves: Understanding Population Mobility in Regional Australia, examines movement patterns around Australia between the two censuses in 2011 and 2016.
The analysis shows that on a national level, more people were moving from capital cities to regional areas than the other way around.
In the five years to 2016, Sydney saw a net loss of 64,756 people to regional Australia, Melbourne 21,609 and Adelaide recorded a small net loss of about 1000 residents.
Brisbane bucked the trend with a net gain of 15,597 people.
The report also looks at the movement of Millennials (people aged 20 to 35).
It found that while 178,961 Millennials moved to capital cities from regional Australia, more than 200,000 moved between regions.