Jan Fran travels to Tamworth in search of an easier life, a home, and a job


Barnaby Joyce said that young people should move to the country to avoid the high property cost of capital cities. So how easy is it to move to regional Australia? Jan Fran investigates.

Joe Hockey told young Australians to 'get a good job'. Turnbull implied that wealthy parents should 'shell out'. And a month ago, when asked about the housing crisis facing young Australians, Barnaby Joyce said:

"I get annoyed when people talk about that the only house that you can buy apparently is in Sydney and it's too dear," he said. "There are other parts of Australia. I live in one, it's called Tamworth.
Houses will always be incredibly expensive if you can see the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Just accept that. Houses are much cheaper in Tamworth, houses are much cheaper in Armidale, houses are much cheaper in Toowoomba."

The median price for a house in Tamworth is $240,000 (compared to just over a million in Sydney), lending credibility to his statement. But just how easy is it to pack up and move to Tamworth? 


Joyce believes that the region is developing and providing good opportunities for people looking for a more affordable way of life.

[There's] developing jobs, a massive tourism country music, it's midway between Sydney and Brisbane," he told The Feed. "An aircraft industry, huge rural hinterland, mining to our north, and the global economy buying more and more of our product at higher and higher price. We've got people moving from Sydney".

Karina and Mike are two such people. They moved to Tamworth to raise their child, who is two, and wanted more than they could afford in Sydney.

"In this last year we’ve been on two family holidays, one overseas, which we never would have done if we’d been in Sydney," said Karina.

"It's got hospitals, shopping centres, two golf courses... yes, that's important!" said Mike.

"I always say to my friends how many set of lights do you think I drive through to get to work. They’re like four to five.. none! No sets of lights."

Karina and Mike have family in Tamworth, as did eight of the ten case studies Jan met. Does Joyce think there's a draw for people without roots in the area?

"There's always got to be a first mover!" said Joyce.

Heather and Marc have recently moved to the area, as their two kids pulled them out of the city to a bigger house.

"I approached my boss, and he was pretty flexible with a work arrangement idea of trying to relocate to a regional area so I took him up on that offer of trying to get out," said Marc.

He currently does the same job as he did in Sydney, for the same salary, despite the lower cost of living.

However, not all can move and stay with their current jobs, or even within their industry. The regional unemployment rate is 5.2 per cent. However, in Tamworth, it's 17 per cent.

Jan found almost 500 jobs listed as available in Tamworth, but a third of them were part time. Work in the medical, manufacturing, defence and mining industry were plentiful, but those in other industries such as human resources, I.T., marketing and science/ tech were scarce.

And, needless to say, despite Jan's tireless search, a job as a TV presenter didn't seem plausible.

So should you up and move to a regional area? Without family connections, or a guaranteed job in your field, there's not a lot who do.

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