It’s official: a better future for Australia lies in our regions

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Rockhampton Region Mayor Margaret Strelow today backed the findings of a recent report which showed population growth focused away from our major cities and into the regions would lead to the healthiest and happiest future for Australians.

The ‘Regional Population Growth – Are we ready?’, published by the Regional Australia Institute, looks at the economic consequences of alternative population scenarios that could alleviate Australia’s megacity issues and supercharge regions.

Mayor Strelow said the points made about Queensland were particularly interesting.

“If our population growth and distribution continues as projected, by 2056 Brisbane will become as big as Sydney is now and the size of the outer suburbs of Brisbane will triple.

“Queenslanders are known for our amazing work life balance and outdoor lifestyle, but growth like that means those living in major cities will miss out. Instead they’ll be looking at longer commutes and ever increasing housing costs, without the salary bump to go with it.

Mayor Strelow said the report also highlighted some of the major issues city dwellers are already facing.

“Never mind looking at 2056, those who live in Brisbane now are earning an average salary of $75,000 a year but facing average house prices of over $680,000. This means it takes over 32 years to pay off a mortgage.

“If you compare that with Rockhampton, our average salary of $66,000 combined with an average house price of $254,000 means we can pay our mortgages off in just 14 years.

“There’s no doubt that being free of mortgage payments 18 years earlier could fundamentally change your life.

“It’s clear that a move to the Rockhampton Region means more disposable income, shorter commutes, affordable housing and a healthier lifestyle with more time spent outdoors in the Queensland sun.

“It also means access to a beautiful part of the world, where you can enjoy stunning natural landscapes without compromising on city amenities or career opportunities.”

Mayor Strelow said all levels of government needed to take action to ensure we change the trajectory that Australia, and Queensland, is on.

“We need policies that actively encourage and entice people away from our quickly expanding capital cities and into our regional areas.

“This is not just about supercharging the regions to reach their potential, but ensuring the major cities of Australia don’t become places that everyday Aussies simply cannot afford to live.

“A future for Australia that spreads opportunity and wealth more evenly across our country is a future that’s good for all of us.”

The full report is available to read here.

RAI have created a tool called ‘Move’ which allows you to easily compare things like average salaries and house prices across different areas of Australia. It can be accessed here.

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