THE cost of raising young families and the amount of time spent commuting are two key reasons city dwellers have put the central west near the top of their wish list when considering a tree change.
An analysis of visitors attending Sydney’s Country NSW Expo earlier this month shows the central west was the second most popular region people wanted more information about, behind the mid north coast.
Expo organiser Peter Bailey said Oberon, Lithgow, Orange, Cabonne, Parkes and Grenfell all reported strong interest from expo attendees, with Bathurst and Mudgee, which were not represented at the expo, also making the top 10 list of places people wanted to know more about.
Mr Bailey said when the expo started 11 years ago people were unwilling to move anywhere that was further than three hours from Sydney but that’s changed.
“Now people are prepared to move further afield,” Mr Bailey said.
Orange City Council environment and economic sustainability committee chair Neil Jones said staff from both Orange and Cabonne councils represented the region at the expo, and talked to hundreds of people considering a move to the central west.
“What the staff heard has shown up a number of key trends,” councillor Jones said.
“For some, the pressure on raising young families with the costs of living and hours spent commuting is becoming too much.
“Others who expressed an interest in a move were originally from a country region and were keen to return to raise families.”
Cr Jones said a high percentage of visitors to the Cabonne and Orange stand showed that they had already researched the district prior to coming to the expo.
“They attended the expo to get the finer details on living in Orange such as sports clubs, social entertainment or cultural activities.
“In 2005 staff spent most of their time explaining where Orange was however in 2014 everyone already knew about Orange and were keen to hear from a local about the lifestyle in Orange.”
Cr Jones said while commuting, property affordability are key drivers for people to abandon Sydney, career opportunities, education and health services are the key attracting factors that will bring them here.