Dr Linda Lorenza is the first to admit she wasn’t quite sure if life in tropical Queensland would be for her after years of living in Sydney. However, the combination of career progression, the natural environment and a thriving cultural scene has meant the move to the sunshine state has been a stunning success for Linda!
The arts academic relocated to Mackay to head up a theatre course at Central Queensland University, and research from the Regional Australia Institute (RAI) shows Linda’s expertise is in high demand.
The RAI’s recently released Big Skills Challenge report found in the 10 years to December 2022, online vacancies for arts and media professionals in regional Queensland grew by 161 per cent.
RAI CEO Liz Ritchie said a healthy arts scene was often a strong indicator of a thriving region.
“For years people have associated going to a theatre performance, heading off to a music gig or wandering around an art gallery as activities you do in the city, in 2023 you can do all of this and more in our regional communities,” Ms Ritchie said.
“The fact that we’ve seen such a big increase in arts and media jobs in regional Queensland shows just how desirable and liveable the state’s regional communities are.”
Linda said her move had also proven beneficial for her career.
“I’ve been quite successful in getting research grants because the research is to do with applied arts and it’s in regional Australia,” she said.
Ms Ritchie said strengthening regional Australia’s access and opportunities for engagement in the arts, cultural, community and recreational experiences is one 20 goals set out in the RAI’s Regionalisation Ambition.
“The Ambition is a 10 year framework to ‘Rebalance the Nation’ and is leading a country-wide discussion about population growth,” Ms Ritchie said.
“Modelling shows the Australian economy would be better off if there was balanced growth between cities and regional areas. If the regions have the infrastructure, services, and investments they need to thrive, they can take their rightful place in our nation’s story.”
Linda’s also found a wonderful balance between work and play, and regional living hasn’t put a damper on her love of eating out and making new cultural discoveries.
“There are a lot of good pubs in Mackay and they all do a really good steak, and near the main café strip, there are some fantastic giant artworks that have been done on the walls of buildings,” she said.
Linda loves Mackay’s proximity to the reef and rainforest, and she’s not alone, with the RAI’s latest Regional Movers Index showing the city accounted for 2% of regional Australia’s net internal migration in the March quarter, up 122% compared to the 12 months to March 2022.
“People will just stop and talk to you. Everyone smiles. I have more space, I have more creative freedom in my works and I definitely have more time to relax,” Linda said.
To be inspired by Linda’s story and other Australians who’ve #MadeTheMove to the regions, visit the RAI’s Move to More website.
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