Townsville lifestyle. Do we need more focus on our brand?
Is Townsville part of the answer to the Big 3 Cities (Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane) population, lifestyle and infrastructure challenges? Is Townsville prepared for a bigger share of migrants, baby boomers and workers looking for lifestyle and affordability benefits of living in a regional city? Can Townsville attract our fair share of Gen R1 people who move to regions for affordability, climate, time saving and consistent health and education services?
Clayton Cook, Director of TP Human Capital, said “two years ago this wasn’t even on Townsville’s radar. But Gen R is real, and Townsville could be part of the answer to Big city congestion, poor work lifestyle balance and comparative home affordability.”
Revised ABS region population numbers for June 2017 were released recently. Townsville’s LGA population was 192,988. Its growth rate for 2016/17 was 0.9% and the total growth, at a challenging time for the economy, was 1,640. 2018 population figures are published next year, but with healthy residential vacancy rate, solid net natural and migration increases, more jobs and steady overseas migration and international students, Townsville could achieve population growth between 2-2.5% for the year to June 2018.
Founder of Our Fair Share2 concept Colin Dwyer said, ‘While the net natural increase (births-deaths) for Townsville was positive 1,501, the net migration (domestic arrivals – domestic) departures was negative 712. Townsville’s net domestic population change was positive, which is a sign of flexibility and strength under difficult conditions. Townsville has a way to go in its recovery process, but it’s in a better position now than a year ago.
The ABS now provide international migration figures for regional locations and in 2016/17, Townsville had a positive net overseas migration of 851. There’s a challenge in these figures. Townsville has 0.8% of the national population but is only achieving 0.45 or about half of ‘Our Fair Share’ of international migration. Townsville needs to attract more skilled international migrants and students.”
Mr Cook said “Townsville needs to learn from its past but consider its future and capitalise on its potential. Townsville is a convenient and compact city with over 300 days of sunshine. Townsville job opportunities have improved significantly recently, driven by major construction projects, health and social assistance and mining jobs but unemployment remains at unacceptable levels”.
Mr Cook said “It’s sometimes difficult to find locals with the right skills for jobs in Townsville. So, local organisations sometimes recruit from down south or overseas. The challenge for many potential new residents and workers is they don’t know much about Townsville. If they do, it’s often negative whether our Brownsville tag, crime, unemployment, economic restructuring issues- not our glorious climate, inspiring schools, clever TAFE and Universities, large hospitals, spectacular Strand, comparatively affordable homes, competitive residential and commercial yields, potential capital returns, above average household incomes, vibrant cultural community, dead sexy coffee culture and impressive environmental assets. Townsville’s future is as much about liveability as it is about jobs, and we need to highlight our assets and publicise our positive potential”.
Townsville is changing with new lifestyle assets, healthy residential vacancy rate, expanding health and education sectors and loads of potential for southerners and migrants to be part of the R Generation – people who chose Regions for affordability, potential, climate, work life balance, comparable health and education services and dead sexy coffee culture.
Mr Cook said “we need to focus on who Townsville is best suited for. We seem to try to compete with tourism hotspots Cairns, Whitsundays, Mission Beach, and we are simply not as attractive from an Events /Tourist perspective. I find we seem to try and have a broad appeal, being everything to everyone and this doesn’t work in business branding, and a city or town is the same. We need to have more focus with our Cities brand. Where we win hands down is our attraction to families, raising kids. Our focus and target market should be something like 30-50 year old couples with primary-school age children”
1 R Generation or Gen R are People who move to Regional locations seeking lifestyle, incomes, work life balance and asset transfer benefits. Colin Dwyer
2 Our Fair Share developed from the economic term regional horizontal fiscal equalisation3 by economist Colin Dwyer.
3 Regional horizontal fiscal equalisation developed by economist Colin Dwyer to benchmark State and Federal capital expenditure in regions and LGAs.