Extracted from the Farm Tender weekly Newsletter - Sign up and get the email every Wednesday morning before 6 am. www.farmtender.com.au
By Dwain Duxson
Talking to Farmers and Rural people and you get the sense that Rural and Regional Australia is going through a mini-boom that could eventually become something more substantial.
Regional cities like Wagga Wagga, Toowoomba, Tamworth, Ballarat, Orange, Dubbo, Bendigo, etc are all experiencing housing issues. This has been going on for a while, but now it's filtrating further out to the smaller, more isolated towns.
I was talking to a real estate agent in the town of St Arnaud (Vic), and he said some places are getting snapped up in a matter of hours. And it's got to a point now where some houses don't even make it to market.
If you have ever driven through St Arnaud, population 2193 according to Google Maps, you would have noticed that it was once a thriving joint. In the seventies, the locals used to boast that they seven pubs in town. They only had one pub until recently when another one joined in and reopened, hence the new level of activity in town.
Donald, 30 odd kilometres away, you can't buy a house to save yourself, and neighbouring Wycheproof is the same, I'm told.
All these places are Agriculture towns, and some of the buildings you see, like the Silos and the Mills, were massive undertakings back in the days.
I don't think we will ever see massive infrastructure projects in these small towns, but we will see new businesses move in. We are now seeing individuals running or working in businesses that operate across Australia or worldwide, living regionally. This is exciting.
Some Farmers have decided to live in town and commute to the Farm each day.
This is only a tiny pocket of Victoria we are talking about here, but it's happening almost everywhere.
During the nineties and naughties, alot of these rural communities went backwards, so let's hope we can restore a level of activity that will see all parts of Rural and Regional Australia thrive again.
One thing's for sure. They will be different places from what they once were.