Move to the country, the man said

While Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce thinks, he has the perfect ideas to help the housing crisis it might not be as simple as he thinks.


Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce created a storm in some quarters when observing the average family is no longer able to buy a home in Sydney, recently shown as one of the least affordable capitals in the world. He explained that “…a nurse married to a copper… can’t afford to buy a first home in Sydney on (their) salaries.” An accountant by profession before politics, Mr Joyce offered up the rule of thumb that if you take total family income and multiply it by three, it indicates the price of a house you might afford. Sydney is about twelve times, thus putting it beyond the reach of the average family by a factor of four.

We are an over-urbanised country. Once – and Victoria was a frontrunner in the movement – there was a push to decentralise industry, to ensure the incentives and the infrastructure existed to take manufacturing, especially, to rural centres. And therein lies the greatest stumbling block, especially now the industry in Australia is in the process of reinventing itself, establishing what is needed for businesses to reconsider their future and their location.

A move to Tamworth (or Armidale or Toowoomba) is fine in concept. Housing is certainly more affordable, but if you don’t have the necessary income from your employment, it all becomes academic. All things equal, should there be a mass movement to rural areas housing prices there will rise, too.

Mr Joyce, I’m not having a go at you so much as suggesting you are one of the main players involved in making your words realistic. The Government of which you are part needs to look at the infrastructure and incentives required. Decentralisation ought to be contemplated, including the necessity for improved education facilities in places you suggest, Tamworth being a perfect example.

Caption: The sad situation with manufacturing in rural Australia, the long-closed Givoni factory at Newstead in Victoria, a situation that can be corrected but will require forward thinking by government.
Caption: The sad situation with manufacturing in rural Australia, the long-closed Givoni factory at Newstead in Victoria, a situation that can be corrected but will require forward thinking by the government. 

What do you think of what John wrote? Do you agree or have different thoughts?

  1. Greg Hills  

    Decentralisation is a great idea. However, why not go one step further? Do not sect rallies to the town’s of the sizes mentioned. Towns like these are buoyant enough already.
    It is the next level down in size that need the boost and already have the infrastructure in place from times past, that could easily accomodate industry. Their housing prices are very low, and would not escalate so quickly.
    Towns of the size of say, Wellington NSW, Dimboola Vic., Dalby, Longreach, Barcaldine, Blackall, in Queensland, to name just a few.

    • Greg Hills  

      That was meant to be decentralise not “sect rallies”. That changed while the post was loading. Sorry people.

      • Greg Hills  

        I wish Startsat60 had an edit button on comments so I could fix spelling and grammatical errors caused by spell check.
        Doesn’t appear to have that facility? Am I right Startsat60?

  2. Gary  

    Barnaby Joyce said Tamworth because he’s trying to give his constituency a boost. In fact you don’t need to go to the country, just another city with affordable housing. Plenty of affordable housing in post mining boom Perth and a better quality of life than sitting in the carpark otherwise known as a motorway every day. Or try Adelaide or Darwin. Sydney’s nice to visit but I don’t think anyone actually “lives” there. Especially if you’re young, now’s your chance to see another part of Australia.

    • Carmel  

      I “live” in Sydney and would never live elsewhere. If you move to a country town you give up visiting live theatre, Symphony concerts, art galleries etc. I would never move as all my friends and relatives are here, and everything That is near and dear to me.

  3. john  

    I Think people need more of an open mind. If you look at the amount of jobs available in Aulbury/ Wodonga then you may find a few advantages re housing under 300k and a better lifestyle than bigger towns. As I live in Corowa and its a 49km drive to Aulbury however unlike Sydney or Melbourne its a 35 minute drive so if housing affordability is an issue then some regional center’s may have the answer

  4. Diandra  

    Are the jobs, the schools, the doctors, the hospitals etc, etc out there?

    • david  

      Speaking about where I live (Kingaroy Qld) the answer would have to be no.

  5. Heather  

    If you know a reliable handyman who wants to live somewhere cheap send him to Casterton. We have two pubs, hospital, doctors, chemists, supermarket, football, races, cricket, tennis etc. We can get everything we need here or 70ks away in Mt Gambier or Hamilton. Very quiet, good schools – pretty much like most country towns that need a boost.

  6. Viv Donovan  

    I am one of many who purchased land at North Arm Cove northern NSW in the hope of it being re-zoned to urban. Still waiting since the 70’s for this to happen. Could you imagine how many jobs would be created if the 2,000 or more blocks were re-zoned and built on with new services created and a bigger town created? De-centralisation could be the answer for many if councils get their heads out of the sand.

    • Mary  

      yep and then you would sell to the highest bidder – the greed of the seller is a big problem – but there is a full circle because then you have to buy and again for the higher price – sad but true

  7. Mary  

    If you are on a pension – the income is the same where ever you live so moving to a rural setting is an option with like minded people – as long as you can get to services like hospital/shops etc. When enough pensioners move to an area increasing the population the people who want to have businesses will come as well

  8. Eddie Randle  

    My life and the life of my family has been ruined by people in local government.
    I helped the Australian Bureau of Statistics to sort out the electoral roll in Ilfracombe in the early 90,s.
    The price my family are paying for this mistake is ridiculous.
    The Ilfracombe council covered the town in dust for 3 months to get rid of us and we all suffered from this, others in town also.
    We have had death threats and malicious damage now for 26 years.
    My wife was thrown into a lunatic asylum, my eldest son persecuted by the police and I have a property I can’t not use because the local council won’t give us a decent access.
    Barnaby Joyce (who shouldn’t be there) says move to the bush, what a joke.

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