- The Regional Victoria Living Expo attracted 9,638 Melburnians with a genuine interest in moving to regional and rural Victoria
- About 2,000 people had their details electronically collected by exhibitors
- The Expo is an ongoing Victorian Coalition Government initiative to drive population and investment into regional and rural Victoria
A new record of 9,638 Melburnians attended the 2014 Regional Victoria Living Expo at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre last weekend, Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan said today.
Mr Ryan said the record numbers reflected growing interest amongst Melburnians to move to regional and rural Victoria, with the expo having grown steadily since beginning in 2012.
“Feedback from the 147 exhibitors at the event was that visitors this year were even more serious about relocating to country Victoria,” Mr Ryan said.
“Many regional councils reported that Melburnians attending had done their homework and asked very specific questions about the regions and the towns they intend to move to.
“The regional councils felt this year’s event would see the effort from the previous two years pay off as potential new country residents put the pieces in place for their move.
“Visitors asked about how to get quality jobs in their respective fields; about affordable housing, education, health and community life – questions indicating they are serious about relocating to the regions.”
Southern Grampians Shire Council Manager Economic Development and Tourism Hugh Koch said there were clear economic benefits in luring city residents to his region.
“A family moving to our region is worth around $90,000 a year to the local economy,” Mr Koch said.
“If we can get three to five families a year moving into the area, we’re more than happy with that – and the Expo is delivering that for us.
“If four families a year move for the next five years, that adds up to around an extra 1.8 million dollars into our local economy.”
Mildura Rural City Council Business Event Facilitator & Special Projects Julie Jewell said the level of interest in moving had increased in the expo visitors.
“Last year people were looking for a destination, and this year people know exactly where they want to move – we feel like it is a culmination of the three years of work we have put in, with each building on the last and becoming more targeted each time,” Ms Jewell said.
“We had 25 people keen to visit, many of whom are genuinely interested in moving.
“We really value the support from the Victorian Coalition Government and are very keen for the Expo to continue in forthcoming years.”
Ararat Rural City CEO Andrew Evans said a Smartphone App launched at the expo was already doing well.
“The App gives people access to a whole range of information about Ararat – we only made it available yesterday and we had 60 downloads by halfway through day two,” Mr Evans said.
“That’s 60 people with ongoing access to a whole lot of information about our area.”
A 2012 report found that by supporting growth in the regions we can help reduce the estimated $95 billion in cumulative congestion costs associated with expanding Melbourne’s outer-metropolitan areas over the next 20 years.
For example, the cumulative cost of providing critical infrastructure to support an additional 50,000 persons in the Regional Cities is $1 billion; this compares with inefficiency costs of $3.1 billion associated with the same number of persons being accommodated in metropolitan Melbourne.
“Basing population in the regions greatly reduces the strain on city services and infrastructure,” Mr Ryan said.
“Relocating house is a big step, and people undertaking it deserve support.”
“Exhibitors at the Expo this year provided visitors with information tailored to their needs including current job opportunities and the chance to match them up with existing or new businesses setting up in the regions.
“It also proves that the Coalition Government’s Good Move campaign, created to showcase the benefits of regional living, spurs city dwellers to genuinely consider a move to the country.
“Positive interaction between councils – promoting the best of their wares as a region – made a big difference to attracting greater interest among people genuinely interested to move.”
Media contact: Les White 0409 805 122 firstname.lastname@example.org