‘No more disgusting commute’ Millennials make the move
"A house, dog and a vegetable garden - it's great."
It's all part of the mix attracting millennials like Lelia Kamphorst away from cities and into regional centres in greater numbers than ever before.
Asked why she was so keen to relocate to Coffs Harbour Lelia didn't miss a beat.
"Community - it's all about connecting with the community. I've joined the local Rotary Club and love that I don't have a disgusting commute and we're so close to National Parks and beautiful beaches right in the middle of town."
A report, Big Movers: Population Mobility in Australia, released on Tuesday looks at population trends between the last two national censuses in 2011 and 2016.
The Regional Australia Institute (RAI) study unpacks population trends around the country, and confirms that regional Australia attracted more people than it lost to capital cities during the last Census.
Regional Australia had a net inflow of 65,204 people in the five years to 2016.
Lelia is a strategic planner with the small Coffs Harbour-based firm Locale Consulting.
After living in cities both overseas and in Australia she made the change just over a year ago and has never been happier.
"I love this area and we always holidayed here so it was a spot of luck to end up here with a small business doing this kind of work - normally you have to go to the city for this kind of opportunity.
"We've lived in Brisbane before and we certainly didn't want to live in Sydney."
Locale Consulting specialises in consulting services to the local government and not for profit sectors in regional NSW.
"Lately I've been working on new plans of management for public land for local councils. I recently spent a week in Bathurst visiting parks and reserves across the Shire - I loved it."
The Coffs Harbour Airport was a big drawcard particularly for her partner who works in geophysics exploration on a fly-in-fly-out basis.
"He grew up in Sydney and didn't want to live there again."
The Big Movers report found that in the five years to 2016, Sydney saw a net loss of 64,756 people to regional Australia, Melbourne 21,609 and Adelaide recorded a small net loss of around 1,000 residents. Brisbane bucked the trend with a net gain of 15,597 people.
The report focused on movement of millennials (20-35-year-olds) regarded as the 'golden demographic', in the early stages of forming a family.
It found that while 178,961 millennials moved to capital cities from regional Australia, more than 200,000 moved between regions.
RAI CEO Liz Ritchie said the experience of dealing with COVID-19 has removed one of the most significant barriers to a substantial population shift in this country.
"The notion of how we work has been turned on its head and I hope this change will see significant population growth in regions, following on from a trend that has already been set over a decade."