OZ - No sign of slowdown in retreat from bush

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No sign of slowdown in retreat from bush

Young people are leaving small rural communities in growing numbers. Although this fact has been well documented for several years, the new population report, Population Growth, shows the bush exodus remains steady and even, and in some cases, is rising.

The township of Warren, north-west of Dubbo, for instance, lost 0.7 per cent of its population between July 1998 and June 1999.

Over the past 20 years, almost 15 per cent of its population has left, said the report's author, Mr Bernard Salt, a consultant for KPMG.

There has been a 45 per cent reduction in the 5- to 14-year-old age group, and a 43 per cent reduction in the 15- to 19-year-old group.

"It's a town that is totally restructuring," Mr Salt said. "There has been a big inflow of retiring farmers, and an outflow of young people.

"My concern is that if you pull out all the young people and stick in lots of older people, it's creating enclaves of elderly people in rural Australia," he said.

But the picture is not all bleak. Many of Warren's young people moved to larger towns such as Dubbo, which have become known as "sponge cities". It serves as a de facto capital city for north-western NSW.

"You can drive to Dubbo - it's about 100 kilometres away - so for many young people, the education and jobs available would be a drawcard," Mr Salt said.

Between 1976 and 1999, the population of Dubbo has swollen by 56.5 per cent, while that of Warren decreased by 17.4 per cent.

Other towns that are bleeding include Murrurundi, in the upper Hunter Valley, which lost 2 per cent of its population in the year to 1999. Holbrook, near Albury, lost 2.1 per cent of its population.


Americans who have rural trades talents and are thinking of migration might like to explore regional Australia as a destination. I table this in support of previous posts observing the exodus phenomenon in a changing global world.

The issues this article hints at are many, including our rising mean age of rural OZ, centralisation of services, closure of schools due to lack of children, roads that are neglected because nobody uses them, bridges breaking up...,the list is endless. What this country needs is people with new visions and dreams.

Regards from OZ

-- Pieter (zaadz@icisp.net.au), May 02, 2000


I hear that the Chinese are looking for a few good acres.

-- (nemesis@awol.com), May 02, 2000.

i'm sorry pieter- but with your country's nazi-like view of private ownership of guns, australia is one of the last places i'd live (or visit). no disrespect to you intended- but as your country has gone further into socialism, it has lost it's luster. (for me, at least)

-- kermie (kermitrbt@aol.com), May 03, 2000.

Guns aren't the issue down here - we've got lotsa guns. Nazi type socialism isn't an issue either. Yes, we have Nazis and such ideas here but we tolerate them - it's a healthy sign. We even tolerate those who have a left of centre leaning.

No, the real issue kermie, is your American intrusionisms into our culture via global imperialism. Kermie, your nation is spreading a poison beyond tolerance. It's called Sesame Street. Please say G'Day to Miss Piggie. Thank you so much.

PS...If you want to talk about guns please come down from your Yankee sky high moral plateau...Sheesh!

-- Pieter (zaadz@icisp.net.au), May 03, 2000.

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