In a new report, renowned demographer and social commentator Bernard Salt AM has concluded that the post-pandemic era provides rural Victoria with unique opportunities to thrive.
The report, Rural Councils Victoria Demographic Destiny: Opportunities for Rural Victoria in the Post-pandemic Era commissioned by Rural Councils Victoria, has found that the pandemic has fundamentally altered the traditional narrative of rural Victoria.
Mr Salt, who heads The Demographics Group says that narrative was: “Young people leave in search of further education and training opportunities, or simply for the excitement of living in bigger cities.
“This outflow robbed rural communities of demographic and workforce depth in the 20s and 30s cohorts and the energy and ideas that youth retains.
“The pandemic has changed all that. With an influx of new residents, many rural communities can now think boldly, ambitiously and outrageously about the kind of communities they want to build for the future.
“The way we work, the composition of our towns, the markets for our agribusiness product, the technology we use might all be ‘on the move’ but what never changes is the quality of life on offer in rural Victoria,” Mr Salt says.
“If it is true that Australians are indeed motivated by lifestyle then this coming decade truly is rural Victorian communities time to shine.”
Rural Councils Victoria Chair Cr Mary-Ann Brown said:
“Mr Salt’s in-depth analysis highlights the unique selling points that individual rural communities right across the state have to offer, revealing for instance that West Wimmera is our most entrepreneurial rural municipality, Surf Coast our fastest growing, or that Golden Plains is a tradie’s paradise.”
“The report speaks directly to almost every community in rural Victoria, highlights strengths and explores how local governments and communities can help ensure the great jobs, infrastructure and support needed to thrive and to enjoy the fabulous lifestyle that rural Victoria offers.”