Never been a better time to move to the country

Regional Australia is the best place to live, work, invest and raise a family.

Last year, 65,000 more people chose to move to regional Australia from capital cities than the other way around, according to a new Regional Australia Institute (RAI) report tracking population movements between 2011 and 2016.

If COVID-19 has proved anything, it's that you can work from anywhere. Why shouldn't that number grow even further?

Big corporate workers, public servants, accountants, lawyers, engineers, architects - you name it - if you work in an office, do you really need to be in the office?

I recently launched the Regional Australia Institute's Regional Australia Council 2031 - a bold initiative bringing together 10 of our nation's biggest corporate organisations that will use their influence to help facilitate a population shift to the regions.

If you're on the hunt for a good corporate or government job with a decent wage, why should you miss out because you live in Toowoomba or Cairns?

Why should where you live limit or even define your career?

Why should you accept to earn less because you choose to live in regional Australia? Your postcode should never determine your potential.

Our corporates and government departments should become more flexible about where employees are based.

If you grew up in the country and moved to the city for the job of your dreams, this is your chance to come home. Don't quit your job. Bring it with you.

If you live in Townsville but the job you want is in Brisbane, apply for it anyway. Ask about the possibility of working remotely. It's up to the bosses to think outside the box about how they can make this work.

Talented employees are not limited to the big cities, they can be found all over the country.

My vision is to see more people escaping the city and exploring all the wonderful things our regional centres have to offer.

The tech of today means you can virtually be anywhere across Australia, whenever you need to be.

During COVID-19 almost all my meetings have been held via zoom and video conferencing. It's what most Australians are doing during this time and it's working.

Under the Federal Liberal and Nationals Government, there is more public investment going into regional communications infrastructure than ever before.

Since 2013, we've invested in 1229 new mobile base stations across the nation that are significantly improving connectivity and safety for regional and remote communities.

The NBN is now available to more than 97 per cent of the country.

Thanks to the early prioritisation of the rollout in regional areas, the digital divide between the city and the bush is rapidly shrinking.

In the country capitals, you can buy a large home with a big back yard and get to work in less than 10 minutes for the same price as one-bedroom unit in a capital city.

You never sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic, local travel costs are lower and you can have work-life balance.

Our regional centres are big enough to get a good cup of coffee, but small enough to care.

Regional Australia has an exciting future and I'd love to see more people flee the hustle and bustle and have the confidence to invest and do business in regional Australia. The potential is endless.

Originally published in The Courier Mail, 24 June 2020.