The Nationals leader and Member for Murray Plains, Peter Walsh, said people are moving to Campaspe Shire in their droves – and Echuca in particular – with the region experiencing a 17 per cent, year on year, growth in migration for the past 12 months.
People, Mr Walsh said, who were discovering the true appeal of being in a regional hub rather than lost in the overcrowded anonymity of Melbourne or Sydney.
The data, from the Regional Movers Index, shows Campaspe well ahead of shires such as Mt Alexander (14 per cent) and Macedon Ranges (14 per cent); as well as leaving northern holiday hotspots such as the Gold Coast (13 per cent) and Sunshine Coast (16 per cent) in its wake.
The index, developed by the Regional Australia Institute, analyses movements between Australia’s regions and capital cities.
Mr Walsh said the growth; coupled with a shortage of land for new housing, was driving a huge increase in house prices.
He said in the past 12 months, housing prices in the river town had soared 13.8 per cent to a median price of $435,000 and that was showing no signs of closing down.
“In the same period; 275 properties were sold and that well is now almost dry; with figures showing there are just 37 currently available,” Mr Walsh added.
“Soaring house prices underscore the importance of addressing housing affordability and the folly of Labor’s new housing tax,” he said.
“Labor’s lockdowns have had an unexpected upside in that more city dwellers now see the immense value in regional living, however the government is compounding existing housing affordability issues by levying new taxes.
“While locals find it difficult to get into the market, Labor is whacking a giant new housing tax; which will drive up the cost of a new house block by an estimated $30,000.”
Mr Walsh said if elected to government; The Nationals would bring an extra 50,000 new housing lots to market across rural and regional Victoria.
He said we need to make sure local people can buy a house, whether it be their first home or their dream home.
“We will also reinstate the successful rural flying planning squad; with specialist planners to help cut the lengthy delays of local councils.”
Mr Walsh said Labor’s new housing tax was the result of cost blowouts on major projects, totalling $22 billion.
“Labor is taxing country people to pay for enormous cost overruns on city transport projects. It is fundamentally unfair that young people and families seeking to buy a home are being made to pay for Labor’s waste and incompetence.”