The Morrison Government has not only lured Temporary Visa holders with the opportunity to buy Our Real Estate …
BUT … also ramped up its efforts to send not only Visa Workers and Family, but more International Students to The BUSH!
-*1,000 scholarships worth $15,000 available every year to international students in regional areas
will the harsh reality of ‘The Bush’ set in … with AUSTRALIA being the driest continent on Earth … ?
Day-zero: Water supplies in regional towns will impact on Sydney’s population
By Matt Wade and Eryk Bagshaw
October 21, 2019
Dwindling water supplies in towns such as Armidale and Tamworth threatens to sap population growth in regional NSW and add to Sydney’s congestion as the drought takes a deepening toll on the economy.
Leading regional economist, Terry Rawnsley, has warned fears about water could discourage Sydney residents from moving to regional towns at the same time as the economic effects of the drought force workers to depart country areas in search of opportunities.
“You’ve had political focus on getting more people into the regions but if people are thinking about moving to a regional town and they read the place is about to run out of water that might put questions in their mind,” said Rawnsley who authors the annual Economic Performance of Cities and Regions Report published by SGS Economics and Planning.
“People are drifting away from towns because the drought has weakened the economy but those who want to move away from Sydney are turned off because water is such a fundamental requirement.”
The Morrison government has been ramping up efforts to push more migrants into the regions as population pressures increase congestion in Sydney and Melbourne, while regional areas confront skill shortages.
The measures, which are designed to stimulate struggling towns, are a key part of the Coalition’s population policy, which will see refugees, skilled migrants and students diverted away from sprawling outer suburbs towards regional centres.
New figures show 6350 regional visas have been granted in the past year, a 124 per cent increase on 2017-18.
In Victoria the number of visas granted rose by 65 per cent compared to 2018. In NSW the number grew by 78 per cent, according to the Department of Home Affairs.
The NSW budget in June warned drought conditions would weigh heavily on the rural sector and was a source of “uncertainty” for the economy.
The water supply of some the state’s biggest towns has been hit by drought including Armidale, Tamworth, Orange and Dubbo. The Deputy Premier, John Barilaro, warned last week that large NSW towns would struggle to survive if the drought continues for another three years.
Armidale Regional Council says on present usage, water supply from the Malpas Dam will run out in November next year – dubbed “day-zero”. Armidale’s residents have been asked to reduce their water consumption to 160 litres per person per day to conserve supplies and that will fall to 50 litres when only 60 days of water supply remain.
“We realise that if it does get down to those really low levels people will drift away,” said Armidale mayor, Simon Murray. “That’s why we are working so hard with the community and local businesses so we can use our water efficiently – together we’ll get through this.”
In Tamworth the main water source, Chaffey Dam, has fallen to 18.7 per cent of capacity and the town is on level five water restrictions. Earlier this month Dubbo Regional Council began carting drinking water to residents in Euchareena, a village about 300 kilometres north west of Sydney.
James McTavish, the NSW regional town water supply coordinator, said negative publicity about the drought could influence whether people choose to move to regional areas.
“I’m sure there are people now who are concerned about moving to the bush, regardless of whether that’s inland or on the coast, because of the narrative around water,” he said.
“But in every community we are working hard to secure more water.”
Mr McTavish said he is working on water security in about 85 towns across NSW. “In all those places there is a risk they will be in critical water shortage in the next 12 months,” he said.
The Morrison government’s efforts to encourage migrants to settle outside the big cities ares are expected to intensify as the new regional migration visa comes into effect. Under the conditions of the visas, migrants must remain in their designated regional area for three years before being able to apply for permanent residency. The visas will be run through businesses, industry groups and local councils.
A Senate inquiry heard seven local councils in Victoria, South Australia, NSW, Western Australia and Queensland have been granted sponsorship powers.
Federal Opposition Leader, Anthony Albanese said the federal government needs to adopt measures that make a practical difference on the ground for struggling farmers.
“What we need at the moment is the immediate concerns addressed, where we have farmers literally walking off their properties. Where we have real issues confronting farmers in terms of mental health.”
with Jenny Noyes
Matt Wade is a senior economics writer at The Sydney Morning Herald.
Eryk Bagshaw is an economics correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, based at Parliament House in Canberra