REGIONAL NSW is the big winner as the Coalition in both levels of politics throws money at city renters and long-term unemployed.
Deputy Mayor Jeff Whitton said he could see the benefits of one plan but had reservations about the other for Orange and smaller cities and towns.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has announced a relocation allowance of $6000 for long-term unemployed job seekers who move to a regional area to take up work.
At the same time the NSW government announced it was extending its regional relocation scheme to offer renters money to leave their homes in Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong and buy property in an Evocity like Orange.
Cr Whitton said he was not sure if he would call the old scheme successful but was sure it had raised the profile of the region.
“I think certainly those people thinking about [relocating] it gives them an incentive to do so,” he said.
Evocities consultant Cathy Thomas said since its inception in September 2010 there had been 780 inquiries from people looking to relocate and, from these, 250 had moved to Orange.
“Out of the rest of them there are about 40 to 50 families still considering the move,” she said.
Ms Thomas said she was happy with the numbers that proved the Evocities program was working but was pleased the government had given renters a chance at assistance.
“[The relocation grant] has not been as successful as we would have hoped,” she said.
“I think this is definitely an incentive.”
The state government also announced a new Skilled Regional Relocation Initiative that will pay $10,000 to people who move to take up an unfilled job in a regional area, but do not buy a house.
But Cr Whitton was concerned Mr Abbot’s election pledge would put pressure on the already unemployed in regional areas.
The Coalition will give those aged 18 to 30 who have been unemployed for 12 months or more a $2500 bonus if they find a job and remain off welfare for a year.
A further $4000 will be paid to the job seeker if they stay in work for 24 months.
“Whilst I am glad our leaders are focusing on unemployed I’m not sure if giving them incentives to get work in regional centres is going to work,” he said.
“Long-term unemployed tend to be in manufacturing and labourers. They could well be people who have taken redundancies and there is an age concern about getting a job. If they have a specific skill then those jobs would need to be available.
“There is already an unemployment problem in a lot of areas.”