Coun­try call­ing

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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.’’

Pic­ture: Brooke Whatnall

Rae­lene Dalby, Lee York-Brown and Terri Clark har­vest­ing straw­ber­ries at the Beeren­berg farm.

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