It seems that selling an idyllic country lifestyle to long time urban dwellers is more difficult than the New South Wales government anticipated when they first devised a plan to de-centralise Sydney’s growing population.
According to a Sydney Morning Herald article, since its introduction three months ago less than 50 households have signed up for the one off $7000 relocation grant offered by the state to up sticks and move to outlying regional communities.
The coalition hoped that their planned “decade of decentralisation” would see 7000 families move out of the congested inner city every year in a bid to encourage “whole of NSW growth”, according to Premier Barry Farrell. Over the life of the scheme, it was originally anticipated that 40,000 families would relocate over a four year period before the figure was revised down.
As at July 1st, urbanites from Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong have been offered the $7000 enticement to buy a property as their principal place of residence in regional areas, up to the value of no more than $600,000.
While the government plans to launch a publicity campaign to generate awareness of the initiative, one industry insider suggested the criteria, which requires the sale of an existing house, was too restrictive and that the scheme should be extended to first home buyers willing to settle in regional areas.
In my opinion, the major flaw with this scheme is that families who have established themselves within an inner city community would find it difficult to simply uproot their lives and head off in a completely different direction.
For a start, there’s the issue of employment in regional towns, which generally rely on a few select industries to sustain the local workforce, then there’s the question of education and health services, along with the extensive facilities and amenities that are not readily available in outlying areas.
Then of course there’s the requirement to sell your inner urban home in order to take advantage of the $7000 grant, which is in itself a bit of a tall order at present given the current weaker market conditions.
While the ideal would be for Sydney’s expanding population to move outwards and take some of the burden off existing infrastructure that’s already stretched beyond capacity in and around the city, the reality is vastly different.
Yes there needs to be some type of urban plan implemented to support the growing population in all of our major cities across the eastern seaboard, but I’m not sure sending people to the country is the answer.
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