Townsville Bulletin

World of opportunit­y for regional Australia


THE great Covid tree change is creating new opportunit­ies for regional businesses as Aussies flee capital cities and bring their skills and their wallets further afield.

Exclusive research from data and insights platform Dynata reveals more than a third (37 per cent) of metropolit­an Australian­s have considered moving to a regional area during the pandemic, and one in six of these have committed to a move.

But many more have gone beyond daydreamin­g, with 45 per cent researchin­g where to live, 19 per cent applying for jobs, and 20 per cent asking their current employer for permission to work from a different location.

While some tree changers just want a temporary reprieve from capital city restrictio­ns, most (66 per cent) hope to make a permanent move away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Mars Wrigley Australia general manager Andrew Leakey said there was a particular­ly strong appetite from younger Australian­s to move out of metropolit­an areas, but it was up to regional employers, government­s and educators to showcase the careers available in regional businesses.

The chocolate and chewing gum manufactur­er’s own research showed almost four in five (79 per cent) millennial­s had considered a regional relocation and about three threequart­ers (74 per cent) reported Covid-19 as an influencin­g factor in their decision.

Mr Leakey called on regional communitie­s to implement “bold and visionary initiative­s to position themselves as attractive destinatio­ns” for city dwellers.

Mars Wrigley employs almost 700 people in regional and outer-city areas, including in Ballarat in Victoria.

“Traditiona­lly, people in Ballarat go to Melbourne for university so then stay in the bigger cities, but what we are finding is that, with the right programs, you can show people what a career (in a regional area) looks like,” Mr Leakey said.

Global futurist Anders Sorman-nilsson said that although many recent tree changers and sea changers would continue their city jobs as remote employees, many of these would eventually ventually end up in local businesses too.

“Once talent nt migrates into regional communitie­s and they get a taste e for the place, they hey might decide ‘it’s great to be a laptop top jockey but it would be nice to start engaging with the community’ and they see there are big employers in the regional towns,” he said.

“You may see people keep their connectivi­ty to their old employer, but in a year or two they explore the local employers … and it will go some way to addressing the skill shortag shortages in Australia’s local commu communitie­s.”

Population­s Populat outside of greater capital cities increased by

m more than 11,800 in the March 2021 quar quarter due to internal migratio migration alone. This was the largest shift since the ABS began the series 20 years ago – surpassing the previous record in the September 2020 quarter. And more people means more customers.

Nicholas Blackburn, 32, was living and working in Melbourne when the pandemic hit but moved to Townsville, Queensland, earlier this year.

He took a remote role with Adelaide- headquarte­red game developer Mighty Kingdom, working as the programmin­g lead for phone app Gabby’s Dollhouse.

“After spending nine months indoors working remotely for an office in the same city, you kind of wonder why you’re paying the rent you are when you could just as well be out on the beach in a three-bedroom house at half the price,” he said.

Start-up expert and director of partnershi­ps at HR software company Compono Raife Watson said a significan­t portion of new businesses created since the Covid-19 outbreak were in the regions.

“Sometimes it’s a city person who moves to the country and they get there and go ‘what am I going to do?’,” he said. “They might start up things that are in the city but aren’t in the country – such as high-end bakeries.”

Strong Pilates co-founder Michael Ramsey said he had received a lot of franchise inquiries from people in regional areas.

There are 12 new studios opening soon, including in Thornton and Newcastle in NSW, Tasmania’s Launceston, and Queensland’s Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.

“A lot of the people contacting me have moved from the city to the regions,” Mr Ramsey said.

SINCE March 2020, thousands of Australian­s whose livelihood­s are attached to a vibrant hospitalit­y and tourism industry have faced uncertaint­y as Covid-19 caused major disruption to our everyday lives.

Keeping our community safe must always be our number one priority. Our industry’s future depends upon reducing the impact of Covid-19 in our community and providing a safe environmen­t for people to live, work and socialise.

The Covid-19 pandemic response in Australia is an illustrati­on of how much can be achieved when government­s, industry, unions and scientists work together to create a safe environmen­t for our community.

Supporting the vaccinatio­n targets adopted by government­s and informed by scientists will help the hospitalit­y and tourism industry reopen, stay open and, in time, recover. That is why Crown is making it easier for our people to get vaccinated – including paid leave allowance and extra sick days.

The focus of government and industry has been and must continue to be the safety of our communitie­s. Many people have been directly affected through the impact on their own health and the loss of loved ones.

We have also seen the commercial impacts of the pandemic and the financial hardship it has wrought. The hospitalit­y and tourism industry in Australia has borne the brunt of Covid-19 and, as is often the case, it is the most vulnerable who are hit the hardest – workers and small businesses in an industry that has been struggling with severe restrictio­ns for more than 18 months. That is why we must all join the battle against Covid-19 and work together to get through this.

We have all missed many things during the pandemic which matter most to us, like celebratin­g the extraordin­ary and the ordinary moments of our lives and sharing those with loved ones.

The best way that we can all do our bit as a community, is to get vaccinated so we can return to the things and people we love.

 ?? ?? Michael Ramsey, founder of Strong Pilates, a chain of pilates studios that is expanding rapidly into regional areas for tree changers. Picture: Nigel Hallett
Michael Ramsey, founder of Strong Pilates, a chain of pilates studios that is expanding rapidly into regional areas for tree changers. Picture: Nigel Hallett
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 ?? ?? Mars Wrigley Australia general manager Andrew Leakey, and (inset above) Anders Sorman-nilsson.
Mars Wrigley Australia general manager Andrew Leakey, and (inset above) Anders Sorman-nilsson. GROWING GROW POPULATION­S POPUL INCREASE INCRE CUSTOMERS
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