REAL AUSTRALIA

Interest in regional Australia and the lifestyle opportunities it presents show no sign of abating

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This week is the final week of Race to the Regions, ACM's series on how COVID-19 has impacted regional and rural Australia.

Not all of it is pretty, with the problems around house prices and the rental market occasionally overwhelming all other news. While regional housing is a significant issue, it's not the only one. We have explored how telehealth has made a breakthrough, finally being added to the list for bulk billing on Medicare.

The benefits for all Australians being able to access healthcare this way has been significant, offering not just access to specialists regardless of location but also the opportunity to have a medical appointment from the comfort of your own home.

There have also been job opportunities for some. While many people interviewed for the series have emphasised the move would never have been possible without the ability to work from home, for others a move to regional Australia has resulted in promotions and improved wages.

Perhaps the stories that have most delighted have been the ones that have also been the most surprising.

When I started researching this series I didn't expect that I'd interview families who made the move from Sydney to regional NSW for the educational opportunities. Of course it proves the old adage, never assume.

Certainly, the benefits of tight knit communities have proven their value during COVID where we've all had periods of isolation.

While the series is coming to a close, the interest and demand for regional Australia as more and more people see the benefits of shorter commutes, improved work/life balance and the opportunity to slow down shows no signs of declining. And why would it? I was on a team meeting a couple of weeks ago, held via Zoom. The meeting included dozens of us, joining from all over Australia.

It was a reminder that as much as we can have a good old whinge about technology, it allows many of us to work regardless of our geographic location.

Thanks for coming with us on Race to the Regions

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