City slickers head for Mount Gambier

TREE CHANGE: More people are deciding to pack up their city lives and move to the country. Picture: Supplied.

Elsie Adamo

CITY dwellers continue to leave capital cities to move to Mount Gambier, according to a report released recently.

The report released by Regional Australia Institute (RAI) last week used data from the Commonwealth Bank to determine movements between regional areas in Australia between March 2021 and March 2022.

Mount Gambier City Council had the second highest capital-to-regional migration out of any national Local Government Area (LGA), increasing by 85 per cent, up from the previous quarter.

All three of the country’s top rating LGAs came from South Australia, with capital-to-regional migration growth to Ceduna increasing by 114 per cent, and 74 per cent to Port Augusta.

The clear majority of people moving to Mount Gambier was made up of Millennials at 70 per cent, followed by Gen Alpha and Z at 17 per cent, and Gen X at nine per cent.

The average age of a new Mount Gambier resident is 29 years old.

Commonwealth Bank executive Paul Fowler, who helped crunch the numbers, said Mount Gambier had a lot going for it, including affordability and job availability, and strong industry.

“I look at Mount Gambier as a great example of regional Australian cities that are thriving that are benefiting from the broader economic conditions,” Mr Fowler said.

“Mount Gambier is perfectly positioned between Adelaide and Melbourne with wonderful amenities and work opportunities in a diverse range of industries including manufacturing, agriculture, civil construction and wholesale-retail.”

RAI chief executive Liz Ritchie said Millennials and Gen-Xers should be considered welcome additions to any regional community as they usually have useful skills for communities, as well as families who integrate into the local school system.

“Regional living is attracting more young people and particularly younger families who are looking for bigger living spaces at a cheaper cost,” Ms Ritchie said.

The increase in migration has not been without problems, with increased demand largely faulted for causing a rental crisis in regional areas, including Mount Gambier.

“As millions of Australians either choose to stay in the regions or make the move, this surge in popularity brings with it growing pains that need addressing as we contend with the unique settings facing our regions,” Ms Ritchie said.

Overall, the migration from capital cities to regional Australia continues to increase, reaching a new high of 16.6 per cent.