WORKERS are increasingly making the treechange to South Australia’s regional areas, taking up jobs that allow them to live an easy, country lifestyle.
While the population increase in seachange areas largely is driven by retirees moving out of the workforce and the city, the population increase in treechange areas is being driven by jobseekers looking for work in rural environments.
Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show five of the top 10 population growth areas in South
Rural life is enticing workers to leave the city to further their careers, CareerOne Editor Cara Jenkin reports.
Australia are ‘‘treechange’’ locations, in country areas away from the coast.
Three of the top 10 growth areas are seachange locations and two districts are in metropolitan Adelaide.
The populations of Mount Barker, Light, Yankalilla, Roxby Downs and Barossa council areas grew between 1.8 per cent and 2.7 per cent in the five years from 2004 to 2009.
They are providing jobs in the service, manufacturing, mining, food, tourism and industrial sectors of the workforce.
Council and economic leaders say the future is bright for more workers wanting to make the move out of the hustle and bustle of the city.
Community Engagement Group Australia chief executive Bob Goreing says the Mount Barker region, which has the highest growth at 2.7 per cent, has seen many workers stay within the area to work.
Mr Goreing says these workers cater for the local needs of commuting residents.
‘‘There is a change happening,’’ he says.
‘‘Just the fact that there’s going to be an increase in residential population means there’s going to be new jobs.
‘‘You might need another postman, that sort of thing.’’
Mr Goreing says whether the area’s growth continues at the current rate and 8000 people move to the region, or the 30 Year Plan for Greater Adelaide’s forecast for 16,000 people to relocate occurs, about half of the new population will have to work locally.
‘‘The future is not going to be the past,’’ he says.
‘‘Over 60 per cent of these people who are employed but live within the Mount Barker district travel outside of the region to find work.
‘‘On the one hand, it seems like a better idea from an environment point of view but a regional development point of view relies on having an integrated community.’’
He says 70 per cent of new jobs will be created in service industries and the Government will provide many jobs, as it is a requirement for cities deemed a regional centre.
The food, wine and tourism industries will be major growth areas and enhancing primary industry will also be a focus.
Yankalilla Council chief executive Roger Sweetman says most of the population growth to his region has been from retirees who are no longer working.
But he says there is a significant proportion of workers in the 50 to 55-year age group who want to live the treechange and scale back from work, taking on part-time jobs in the region.
‘‘Others try to operate their business from down here,’’ he says.
Mining at Roxby Downs and the potential expansion of the Olympic Dam mine has continued to attract new residents to the town in the Far North.
Growth in the Barossa Valley’s wine industry and related tourism activities is providing a variety of jobs for workers moving to the region, which also is experiencing a housing boom that requires construction workers.
Light Regional Council strategy, projects and engineering general manager Nathan Cunningham says young families seeking affordable housing are moving to the region.
He says newcomers also are middle age workers wanting a ‘‘sense of space’’ and rural employment options.
Workers mainly are employed in tourism, transport, civil construction and manufacturing.
But more industrial employers are moving north, allowing workers to get jobs and enjoy the treechange, he says.
‘‘The existing township of Roseworthy is noted in the State Government’s 30 Year Plan for Greater Adelaide as being subject to considerable population growth in years to come,’’ he says.
‘‘It is ideally located for workers to service the employers in the north of Adelaide.’’
Raelene Dalby, Lee York-Brown and Terri Clark harvesting strawberries at the Beerenberg farm.