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Aussie dream of home ownership alive and well in Dalby

21 April 2023

AA four-bedroom, two-bathroom house on a one-acre block for $500,000 is but one of the perks of life in Dalby, south-west Queensland, for passionate local government employee Dan Fletcher and his young family.

Dan tells his regional-move story in the latest episode of You Moved Where?! podcast, hosted by TV and film producer Bec Bignell (herself a ‘returner’ to regional Western Australian).

The AFL-loving Melbournian had never in a million years considered moving to the country – let alone rugby league heartland, a whole state away – until his career took an unforeseen path.

A series of community-based roles within local governments across Queensland and the Northern Territory led Dan out of suburbia and ultimately to his now home in Dalby.

“The price we paid for our house; you can't even buy the land for that amount in any metropolitan area.

“It just felt like the dream is actually alive if you can make the choice of moving to a regional area,” Dan said.

The You Moved Where?! podcast is part of the Regional Australia Institute’s Move To More initiative highlighting the work, life and play opportunities in regional Australia.

Research* by the RAI shows 1 in 5 capital city Australians are considering a move to regional Australia. Amongst these regionally-curious city residents; 68% identified the reduced cost of living as a motivation. While 81% of those with primary school aged children cited ‘feeling a sense of community’ as an attraction of living regionally.

In addition to the reduced mortgage pressure that comes with regional house prices, Daniel also feels a sense of freedom in the short commute to work as his office is located a few minutes down the road.

“I'm not stuck in traffic ever….I don't have to rush out to catch the six thirty train or bus in the morning and I get that ability to spend time with my kids when they're in those years of growing up.

The General Manager of Community & Liveability with Western Downs Regional Council, Dan is a powerful advocate for the social connectiveness, and enhanced wellbeing country living provides.

"It’s true that it takes a village to raise kids and it's much easier, I think, to be in a welcoming regional community than to navigate family life in the rat race that is the big city."

In his role with the Council, Daniel is highly visible in the community and he welcomes the opportunity to engage in dynamic and robust conversations with locals who actively approach him when he’s out and about.

“I do tend to get stopped or interrupted down the aisle at that the local supermarket.

“And I think it's brilliant - I think it's so great that we've got a community that really is engaged, and they're engaged in a meaningful way.”

Podcast host Bec Bignell recently returned to her hometown of Kojonup in WA’s Great Southern.

“Dan’s story is a must-listen for city couples looking to start a family; and / or buy a home and who maybe despairing at city property prices; the cost-of-living and the sheer pace of urban life.

A mum to Evie and Poppy, Bec and her husband James returned to Kojonup during COVID and have made, what Bec said was the easy decision, to stay.

“I can vouch for everything Dan is saying about community and the much-appreciated support country living provides, in these hectic times of raising children, building a career and putting down roots.”

But as Dan tells Bec he has not given up everything about his life in Melbourne. He and a group of other passionate AFL lovers are a part of a small, but strong local AFL team. Although he admits, for the foreseeable future, the two posts will also reign supreme over four in Dalby.

Visit and search almost 2000 regional towns and the jobs and homes on offer.

Download You Moved Where?! on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

*RAI National Awareness Campaign Market Research, Understanding Metro Dwellers’ Desires to Move to the Regions, January 2021

For media enquiries contact:

Regional Australia Institute 
Laureta Wallace
Ph: 0409 652 465
E: [email protected]