Jobs lure workers from cities to regions

Labour demand in regional Australia is drawing more people from the cities, creating jobs as trends in regional migration continue.

Commonwealth Bank and Regional Australia Institute data shows quarterly regional migration flows to the regions have averaged about 15 per cent higher in the past 12 months compared to pre-pandemic levels.

The regions attracting the largest influx of movers were the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Geelong and Surf Coast, Illawarra and Newcastle.

Job vacancies in these LGAs increased from between 20 and 30 per cent in the past year, which RAI chief economist Kim Houghton attributed to a "spiral of growth" caused by regional migration.

"One of the reasons that our regional job vacancies are at an all-time high is because it's been hard for employers to find workers because those international borders are closed, but also with our internal flows, increasing those regional populations that generates more jobs in its own right," Dr Houghton said.

Commonwealth Bank regional and agribusiness executive general manager Paul Fowler said record demand for workers was one of the most significant magnets pulling people towards the regions.

"It's a really pleasing continuation of the trend that we've been observing over a number of years now," Mr Fowler said.

Tree and sea changers were less likely to move back to the cities as they were before Covid-19, with net migration to the regions almost 70 per cent higher than pre-pandemic levels.

However, Mr Fowler warned "abnormally low" residential vacancy rates of about 0.3-0.4 per cent threaten to stifle the growth potential offered by regional migration.

"We need to work with local, state, federal governments to ensure the housing infrastructure, broader physical infrastructure, broader social infrastructure is being built to be able to cater for families to move to those regions, for them to then be able to fulfil the job vacancies to allow that local economic prosperity to thrive," he said.