The latest Regional Movers Index reveals that regional migration remains high, despite a dip in the number of people moving out of capital cities. This is giving regional centres some breathing space to absorb the monumental population influxes experienced throughout Covid-19.

Commonwealth Bank Regional and Agribusiness Executive General Manager Paul Fowler said regional economies are booming, with many businesses investing in innovation to strengthen their capabilities and grow. 

“This is creating new employment options for jobseekers in many regional towns and cities across the country,” Mr Fowler said. “This is particularly in key sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing where there has been strong production and revenue growth.”

The overall number of people relocating from metropolitan areas has declined 16.5 per cent compared to the previous quarter, according to the June Regional Movers Index. But net migration to regions remains 30.2 per cent higher than two years prior to Covid-19.

Millennials made up the biggest proportion of people moving to regional areas from capital cities pre-pandemic and have increased their share since Covid-19.

Bathurst, NSW

Among the top five highest growth local government areas, Bathurst has experienced a 39 per cent increase in people moving to the area in 2021-22 compared to the previous year. The region is attracting more businesses as well as more people, including young people.

Bathurst-based not-for-profit VERTO, which provides vocational education, apprenticeships, employment and training, started as a small community college in 1983 and today has more than 350 employees across more than 65 sites in NSW, as well as one in the ACT and two in Victoria.

VERTO has benefited from a growing number of younger people in regional NSW, with demand for apprenticeships at an all-time high – both with employers looking to hire an apprentice, and young people looking to vocational education and training (VET) for a career.

VERTO Chief Executive Officer Ron Maxwell VERTO Chief Executive Officer Ron Maxwell said young people had many employment opportunities given the huge demand for skilled labour in the Bathurst region

VERTO Chief Executive Officer Ron Maxwell said young people had many employment opportunities given the huge demand for skilled labour across the region.

“We are seeing more and more young people consider VET as a viable career choice,” Mr Maxwell said. “More than 18,000 apprenticeship and traineeship commencements were completed by VERTO in 2021-22 - the largest number we’ve ever achieved in a 12-month period.”

Mr Maxwell said NSW is going to need many more highly skilled tradespeople as the state recovers from natural disasters such as floods and the pandemic.

Bathurst is also renowned for its local agriculture industry’s focus on technology and innovation. Among the thriving agribusinesses is Tattykeel sheep stud, which has experienced record profits in 2022 thanks to strong domestic and international demand and prices for lamb.

Graham Gilmore Tattykeel sheep stud Principle Graham Gilmore is among Bathurst’s leading innovators in the agriculture sector

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Principal Graham Gilmore said investment in innovation in farming practices was also driving its success, enabling the stud to grow capability and capacity.

Mr Gilmore has spent 20 years developing a new Australian White breed of high-performing meat sheep to boost productivity.

“The sheep have a haired coat which reduces time and labour spent on shearing,” Mr Gilmore said.

“It is also a cleaner and greener approach to sheep farming because there is less need for chemicals and tail docking to control blowfly or lice.”

Read the full Regional Movers Index – June Quarter.

Banner image: VERTO — There is huge demand for apprenticeships and training in Bathurst.