Lismore district couple Anna Mackney and Dave Barkas enjoy lunch in Lismore yesterday and are happy to be living on the Northern Rivers.
Lismore district couple Anna Mackney and Dave Barkas enjoy lunch in Lismore yesterday and are happy to be living on the Northern Rivers. Jacklyn Wagner

Regional Aussies' faith for future

WE’RE a happy lot, us regional folk, but you have to pity our city cousins who, according to a survey, are fretting over softening property prices and rising interest rates as they struggle to maintain the facade of “keeping up with the Jones’s”.

Confidence about the future among regional Australians has skyrocketed 12.2 percentage points, while sentiment among our chardonnay-sipping city brethren has plummeted 4.5%, a reversal of the norm, according to a Westpac/Melbourne Institute survey.

It seems over the last month our full dams, green rolling paddocks and historically high global agricultural prices have put an extra spring in our step.

“Certainly rural conditions are the best they have been for years,” CommSec chief economist Craig James said.

Add to this the fact that per capita we are richer than ever (according to Treasury boffins household wealth is now approaching $700,000) and regional Australians indeed have every reason to rejoice.

Anna Mackney grew up in Lismore and recently returned after living in inner-Sydney for 12 years.

She said she loved being home.

Unlike in Sydney, she said she could work at The Channon as an artist without relying on government support.

“In terms of lifestyle, I reckon we have it pretty good,” Ms Mackney said.

“Our little microcosm is neat and tidy and you don’t think, ‘I have to make $150,000 next year to be a success’.”

She said as an artist in Sydney people thought they had to move to London or New York to make the big time, but on the Northern Rivers you’re happy to get your work hung in Coorabell Hall.

Her partner Dave Barkas has never lived in the city – and doesn’t particularly want to as he dreads the thought of battling heavily-congested roads as he commutes to work.

“I like the slower pace here,” he said.

“When you drive in the city it’s just madness – there are just so many people everywhere.”

The benefits of living in a regional area may not be new to many readers, but it does suggest why more families every week are swapping cramped Sydney living for the wide open spaces of the Northern Rivers.

Still, it’s not something that we should not shout too loudly from the roof tops, just in case those fleeing the rat-race start to clog up our lovely quiet roads.



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