DEPOPULATION is the biggest issue facing regional Australia, says the boss of one of the country’s largest real estate firms.
First National chief executive Ray Ellis was in Tamworth recently, as the agency mustered regional members from across the nation to discuss issues facing the industry.
“The biggest issue facing regional Australia is depopulation,” Mr Ellis said.
However, he said regional areas were fighting back against this issue, with significant movement away from the city.
“In the last two or three years, more people have moved out of Sydney to regional NSW, and Tamworth is the epicentre of it because it’s a big regional centre,” he said.
Mr Ellis said almost 15 per cent of people who moved house last year relocated to rural areas and there were a number of factors driving the tree change.
“I think it’s true Tamworth is a lot closer to Sydney than what it used to be,” Mr Ellis said.
“There’s the internet access, communications, regional jobs, all those sorts of things.
“They’re the sorts of things that make people try and stay in towns like this, and there are a lot better opportunities now than there were 20 or 30 years ago.”
Tamworth’s First National principals Margo Taggart and David Doherty took part in the conference, which was attended by agents from as far away as Naracoorte in South Australia.
The Tamworth agents said the muster was an opportunity to share insights and keep up with social trends across regional Australia.
Attendees received insights about water licences from Namoi Water board member Rob Jarratt, while rural businessmen Brendan North from Paradise Fresh and dairy farmer Malcolm Rose from Peel Valley Milk also spoke to the agents.