Country & Regional Living Expo 2010

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The annual Country Week expo in Sydney is on again with a new direction and title: The Country & Regional Living Expo 2010.

Sydney residents will head to Rosehill Gardens Racecourse on August 6 – 8 to see more than 50 exhibitors displaying and enticing patrons to consider why they should consider moving to a country region.

The Manning Valley will have a strong presence and will be tempting visitors to experience and taste the positive effects of relocating.

This year more than ever will be an opportune time to highlight the benefits of country living, compared to the conditions of city living.

We constantly hear of Sydney residents being surrounded by urban sprawl, anchored daily with lengthy journeys to work by any mode of transport.

A recent report was not flattering, giving the majority of services a poor rating coupled with a high cost of living, an unhealthy environment and climate – which all add to a perfect recipe of moving.

Having once been a resident in Sydney and a now regular traveller to the big smoke, the city is getting claustrophobic, and after spending time there, it is obvious how lucky we are having a country postcode.

It would not matter what measures our State Government pursued, it seems impossible to rectify the transport system alone; it is plain ugly.

It is a great place to visit; however, delete the harbour, theatres, sporting attractions and some great sightseeing destinations from Australia’s largest capital city, and one wonders why millions are crammed there.

The towns and cities in New South Wales country offer a huge amount of opportunities for investment such as manufacturing and trade, property development, tourism, hospitality, construction and other boutique industries.

It would appear exhibitors have an easy task to sell the benefits of living away from the city areas, but sadly, it is never easy. Attracting people to the country depends on many variables: schools, medical facilities, housing, land for business to relocate, sporting facilities, shopping and the environment.

Other important elements and benefits are transport facilities. We are well placed and serve the community well with the airport, rail and a major highway north and south.

There is no doubt the Manning Valley ticks all the right boxes, and it’s the ideal location for a huge push to campaign to have an exodus of people to the country. With Sydney bursting at the seams, it makes common sense.

This year the Expo will have a focus on business, with the opportunity for all to discover the business and investment opportunities available in our region.

Chris Ryan, senior leader of economic development from the Greater Taree City Council, says Council and the Manning Valley community are well placed to attract new residents.

“We have a program in place to help in the process of changing a person’s lifestyle,” Ryan said. “It covers all aspects one would require to enhance their decision to move to our region.”

Chris Ryan believes with the dedicated Council staff, Chambers of Commerce, local business and industry, there is a total commitment to making the transition to country living easy.

The Manning Valley presence will be presenting to visitors its soon to be established aviation business park and the recently acquired Australian Technical College, which has enormous potential. This college and aviation are wonderful opportunities to entice business, which in turn will create hundreds of jobs.

Another area of significant growth is the expanding multi purpose education centre at the Manning Rural referral centre for medical, nursing and associated health careers.

Competition between rural regions is competitive, with similar environments for prospective new residents.

Local education has an abundance of excellent education facilities, with well performing private and state schools, along with the large TAFE campus.

Also, the availability of land of all types will be promoted as being a cost effective alternative to the high cost purchase and rentals of business premises.

Rural NSW boasts many vibrant and sophisticated regional cities, where residents enjoy the facilities and opportunities available in any capital city without the enormous mortgage payments, huge fuel bills, overcrowding and commute times that seem to grow by the day.

One positive factor our region has to offer away from business is the magnificent, clean and uncluttered coastline and beaches, with our outer regions having a real sense of community orientation.

The Country & Regional Living Expo is the perfect showcase and springboard to discuss and display the virtues of living and working in the country.

Prior Expos have shown that people who have moved from the city to a country region area are very satisfied with their decision, having gained a newfound vigour and a stress-free lifestyle.

It is predicated the population of Sydney will increase by another 1.7 million in the next 25 years – a fact which will only compound the problems of city living.

To reverse this prediction, a future campaign by regional communities and our local Councils is to have a big injection of funds from higher Governments to assist in funding relocation.

Many argue decentralisation programs from the past were beneficial to rural communities. The Manning Valley is included and identified in the Mid North Coast Regional Strategy as one of the four major areas of growth. It makes sense to be granted funding to make it easier and effective for relocation strategies to be put in place.

The Expo hopefully will be a positive move to increase our population, and with potential businesses relocating and offering jobs, it will stimulate and boost our local economy.

The challenges of living increase daily living in Sydney, and it is time to begin enticing city residents to the country.

The expo will be asking patrons, “How much better off am I now than I was three years ago?” and, “What is going to change in three more years if I stay in Sydney?”

Common sense says, “Nothing.”

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