Is moving to the country really the answer?

What's better a sea change or a tree change? Our community writer Paul discusses the Deputy Prime Minister's claim that people should move to the bush.
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Barnaby Joyce is not generally thought of as a political superstar, he has made many outlandish and infamous outbursts and statements, but somehow he has become deputy PM. Heaven knows how that happens or was allowed to happen, but it personifies the calibre of current politicians.

However he must have had a brainstorm recently and made some sense, but the statement was taken with disbelief as people do not expect common sense to come from Barnaby Joyce.

Barnaby Joyce made a statement that it was impossible for first time home buyers to buy into the Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane property markets – I suppose we can add to that other state capitals. He made a call for people to move to the country towns or to the bush. This is about the first sensible thing Joyce has said and of course, makes sense but there are lots of other considerations to be made.

During my life, I have lived in many big Cities but now in retirement live in a very small town just far enough outside a medium size town. Whilst pressing these keys I overlook a beautiful garden full of colour, birds on the lawn eating seeds put there each day, beyond I look over rolling hills and reserve untouched for years. It would be difficult to find a more postcard outlook, particularly as the sun is shining and the sky is as blue as blue can be, and there are no cars, no people – a valley of peace as the town name gives meaning too.

I cannot understand any reasonably minded person wanting to live in a ‘city’ these days. I fail to understand a Cities magnetic pull or who would want the pressures that run parallel with a massive mortgage, rents far beyond true value, streets full of cars and people oblivious to you being there. City children have stress and anxiety as a playfellow with little room to expand, to breath healthy fresh air or be confident of their safety.

Living in a city society that places more credence on keeping ‘up with the Jones’ than keeping up with the kids seems pointless and unnecessary. City folks appear to give more credit to the love the coffees houses, the love the restaurants and shops that are unaffordable than the love of life and love of family. The big machine has brainwashed well, strangling city dwellers with the misguided notion that they have to be ‘there’ to be seen.

Our cities take up such a small part of our island yet most inhabitants have not seen the bush, experienced the peaceful isolation, the tranquility, the freedom for children to grow up being children discovering the real niceties of life, making their own fun, swimming in muddy waters, running through long grass, climbing the biggest trees – forming life-changing memories and life styling attitudes

There are problems living in small towns but nothing that cannot be overcome with common sense together with some long term planning. The answers are there, but needs Governments help and assist – the only problem being is each time a Government becomes involved they make a hash of things, and everything seems to become too difficult. There are towns in regional, rural and country areas crying out for people to come to fill empty houses and employment positions bringing the areas back to life.

Councils, State Government and Federal Government, needs to offer industry and businesses major incentives to decentralise to move to the country. Crown land left dormant for decades could be offered rent free for businesses to build infrastructure as required. A good hard working Australian workforce is available for Companies who make the move without many of the employment problems of a city.

The benefits for families moving out of major cities are obvious none more welcome than basic fresh air and room to move. Housing is affordable and here is where the Government can help by keeping it affordable not allowing profit-seeking investors into the market forcing the prices up. Home ownership is possible in regional areas without placing or putting families in crisis.

My travels around our Country have lead me to believe that Regional areas have adequate medical facilities including hospitals that would only improve with an increase in population. They are staffed by dedicated staff who of also chosen to work in regional areas.

Schools buildings built in times when many regions were thriving agricultural areas, the backbone of our Country, are still there and offer a more intimate schooling for the limited amount of students currently attending. Students freely travel about the towns, walk or cycle home without the worries associated with major Cities.

Sporting facilities are one area where Regional towns excel. I have never known a small town not to have a sports field or show ground. Sport is a major part of a country community and often forms the hub of the town bringing families together.

The settlement of immigrants and refugees to Country areas appears to be a no-brainer. The diversity of cultures can only help to improve the lives of all – immigrants and refugees are hard working and want to work – they are community minded, perfect to bring the bush back to life.

Barnaby Joyce for once made sense and the Government should grab the idea and run with it. Investment of our money into the bush can only have benefits to our country as a whole – It does require a change of current attitudes from city dwellers to understand the benefits of Country living but once started the migration to the country will produce its own benefits.

It needs vision together with an open mind and an attitude to make it work. I see no reason not to encourage movement to the Regional areas, do you? Do you think it is a good or bad move to encourage migration from major cities?

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