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March 10, 2023 by ash

The Fraser Coast is the ‘new kid on the block’ for internal migration in Regional Movers Index

Regional Queensland was the most attractive destination for Australians to move to in 2022, a new report says.

Key points:

  • Regional Queensland proved the most popular place to move in 2022
  • Bundaberg and the Fraser Coast are the most attractive areas for people living in regions to relocate to
  • The Sunshine Coast topped the list for net internal migration followed by the Gold Coast

The Regional Movers Index has shown the Sunshine Coast was top of the list for internal migration last year, followed by the Gold Coast.

Greater Geelong in Victoria followed by Queensland’s Fraser Coast and Bundaberg regions received the third, fourth and fifth largest net migration inflows, respectively.

Bundaberg and the Fraser Coast also proved the most popular areas for people to relocate to from other regions, with Bundaberg seeing an increase of 46.4 per cent in the final quarter of last year, while the Fraser Coast recorded a 3.8 per cent increase over the whole of 2022.

Regional Australia Institute (RAI) chief economist Kim Houghton says regional Queenslanders have been “on the move”.

“Queensland does have quite a large regional population, with about half in regional areas and half in Brisbane and we can see they have really been moving around quite a lot,” he said.

“The places that have got the largest shares of [regional movers] are in Queensland; so Bundaberg, the Fraser Coast, Toowoomba and the Sunshine Coast.”

Commonwealth Bank executive general manager of agribusiness and regional banking Paul Fowler says regional Queensland’s housing affordability and lifestyle continues to drive growth.

“We’ve got a couple of new kids on the block in terms of shining a light into the region-to-region migration in the Fraser Coast and Bundaberg,” he said.

“Interestingly, for the Fraser Coast, there is an even balance of migration from capitals and from other regions, while Bundaberg is seeing a greater share of net internal migration flowing from other regions.

“So it’s really exciting to see those LGAs feature prominently.”

Region has ‘strong, stable community’: Mayor

Mayor of the Bundaberg Regional Council Jack Dempsey says it is “great news” for the region.

“People are coming to Bundaberg for liveability and lifestyle,” he said.

“We’ve got good hospitals, good education facilities.

“We’ve got a strong, stable community.”

Mr Dempsey said locals have been working hard to spread the message about the positives of living in the Wide Bay.

“The citizens are proud of their beautiful region,” he said.

“We’ve just got to keep that confidence and positivity going.”

Tight housing market

But Wide Bay real estate agents say the boost in popularity has made it difficult for people relocating to find housing.

In Maryborough, real estate agent Wal Pavey said it was “still a very tight market across the board”.

“There’s very little stock for sale, very much the same for rental properties, and even commercial leasing, [and] storage, demand is very much up there,” he said.

“Affordable housing is a key ingredient that we’re really lacking.”

Real estate agent Grant Carpenter has seen a notable increase in people moving to Maryborough from areas like Sydney or Melbourne.

“The amount of inquiries is definitely up,” he said.

“A lot of people from out of town are making inquiries, and a lot of investment is coming to the place.

“People just love the area.”

Mr Houghton says it is important housing availability and services in the regional Queensland keep pace with population increases.

“Certainly, the availability of housing as an absolute, will restrict the ability for people to move in,” he said.

But Mr Houghton says the continual “churn” of people moving from region to region will continue to free up housing and jobs.

“Every person that lives in the area that moves, they free up some spots,” he said.

“So I think we’re going to continue to see mobility around that and we’re not seeing any signs of this [growth] really petering out at the moment.”