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The Boom in the Bush

The bush is booming as Barnaby Joyce never tires of telling anyone who will listen.

Rural exports hit $48 billion last year and the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture is optimistic that they will pass $60 billion this year.

The boom is being led by beef and lamb for which there is strong demand in Asia and recently exports of wheat have increased with the demand for noodles in South East Asia going through the roof.

The wine market in China is also expanding enormously but prices in the market are under pressure for low cost producers around the world.

Nationals’ ministers are calling for more infrastructure in the bush while, at the same time, promoting the advantages of living in smaller regional cities like Ballarat, Shepparton, Albury Wodonga and Wagga Wagga.

They say housing is more affordable, childcare easier to find and cheaper and the lifestyle less stressful.

The bush even has Lavazza umbrellas they say.

Small Business Minister Michael McCormack has been effusive: “If you sell your flat in Melbourne or Sydney and move to a regional area or a regional capital you can live a very, very comfortable life with a nice four bedroom house with a lock up garage and a swimming pool – and everything’s cheaper.

“Petrol may be more expensive but you don’t have to sit in long traffic queues for an hour and a half to get to work and then face the same prospect heading home from work.

“You’ve got more time to spend with the family and live your life rather than wait in a pollution ridden queue of noisy, impatient cars trying to get out of George Street in Sydney or Collins Street in Melbourne.”

However analysis shows that the strongest income and population growth is occurring in the big CBDs such as Sydney and Melbourne.

The Victorian government has now developed a plan for fast rail travel so that people can live in rural cities like Ballarat and Castlemaine and commute to work in Melbourne.

This seems like the best of all possible worlds.

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