Rent A Farmhouse scheme attracts families to rural towns
The Rent A Farmhouse scheme that aimed to get families with appropriate skills to move to Cumnock in central western New South Wales is seeing success and the initiative has moved to other rural towns.
As the brainchild of Christine Weston from Cumnock, the project was intended to bring the declining rural community back from the brink of disintegration, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Farmers in Cumnock could not afford farmhands, enrolments in the local school had dropped and empty, abandoned houses were part of the landscape, she said.
But the introduction of the scheme that offers families living in the city the chance to rent an old - often run-down - farmhouse for a dollar a week has seen ten new families move to the area.
They are rebuilding the properties that they have been given with help from local businesses.
Now other rural towns are trying to follow a similar strategy, including Coonamble in New South Wales.
In an interview with the publication, the economic development manager at Coonamble Shire Council said the aim was to attract families to Coonamble, Gulargambone and Quambone.
Part of the reason the scheme has been well received is that housing affordability is becoming more of an issue for those living in cities.
Moving to the country is becoming an appealing option, not just for families, but also for young adults who may otherwise have difficulty moving out of the family home due to affordability.
Ambitious plans from the NSW government to encourage more movement to regional locations also include the Regional Relocation Grant, which came into effect earlier this year and provides a financial incentive for Sydney homeowners who sell their city property and move to a rural location.