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New Index Fast-tracks Details on Where Australians Are Moving Regionally

June 28 2021

Population growth hotspots can now be identified faster than ever in Australia, with the release today of a new index developed by the Regional Australia Institute (RAI) in partnership with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA). 

The new Regional Movers Index shows that the number of people shifting from the nation’s capitals to the regions is at its highest level since 2018, rising seven percent in the March quarter from a year earlier.

RAI CEO Liz Ritchie says the Regional Movers Index gives decision makers, including government, additional data intelligence to plan for the country’s growth.

“This new index enables the early identification of growth trends and flags emerging hotspots which may need fresh thinking on housing and infrastructure,” Ms Ritchie said. 

“The index tracks metro-movers down to a local government area and will report just one month after each quarter, compared with official data which is less detailed and has a reporting gap of four months,” Ms Ritchie said.

CBA Executive General Manager, Regional and Agribusiness Banking, Grant Cairns, said the Regional Movers Index is powered by CBA data associated with relocations amongst its millions of customers, right across Australia.

“We are proud to partner with the RAI on this innovative index. The inaugural results show the strength and appeal of regional Australia and the important role it plays in Australia’s economic recovery and growth,” Mr Cairns said.

Regional hotspots

The index shows the Gold Coast was the most popular destination among metro-movers during the March quarter, attracting 11 per cent of all people who moved to a regional area from a capital. The Sunshine Coast, Greater Geelong, Wollongong and Newcastle were next in line. 

“But it was the Queensland municipalities of Noosa and Southern Downs which saw the largest quarterly growth in migration from capital cities compared with a year earlier, recording increases of 49% and 44%, respectively,” Liz Ritchie said.

“Port Macquarie-Hastings in New South Wales, Launceston in Tasmania and Queensland’s Fraser Coast rounded out the top five,” Ms Ritchie said.

Capital losses

Together, Sydney and Melbourne accounted for nearly all (95.9%) of the net outflows of people from capital cities in the March 2021 quarter. 

“But it’s not just people in our major cities who are realising the opportunities and value provided by regional life. People already living in our regions are increasingly choosing to stay, rather than head for the bright city lights,” Liz Ritchie said.

“The rise of remote working, sparked by the coronavirus pandemic, is allowing more people to live outside our capitals, and it’s no surprise that net regional migration rose 66 percent in the March quarter from a year earlier.”

Corporate Australia backs regionalisation

CBA is one of seventeen leading Australian corporations on the RAI’s Regional Australia Council (RAC2031), which is committed to elevating and prioritising regional Australia. The council has just welcomed its newest member, Woolworths Group. 

“The RAI is working with RAC2031 members to realise our ambitions for regionalisation, which is fundamentally strengthening our regional economies and rebalancing the population for a prosperous and sustainable future,” Ms Ritchie said. 

“The RAI is proud to be leading a new national campaign called Move to Morewhich encourages city dwellers to rethink regional and better understand the opportunities available to them beyond the city limits.”

The full Regional Movers Index report can be found here.

For all media enquiries, please contact:
Dominique Schwartz
M: 0411 485 747
E: [email protected]