Many of us dream of the wide open spaces, fresh air and family-friendly life that rural towns have to offer.
Australia’s country towns are known and loved for their safe communities, friendly locals, close-knit schools and small class sizes, and that unique ability to walk down the street and get a wave or a smile from nearly everyone you meet.
But for those who live in the nation’s rural, regional and remote areas, there are some significant disadvantages too.
Unemployment rates are higher across regional Australia than metropolitan areas, and jobs are harder to come by. Higher education opportunities are limited, with most universities based in cities, and public transport is non existent in many areas.
Regional communities pay more for essential services too, as much as double for electricity compared to residents of capital cities. And for those in employment, their income is generally lower than their metropolitan counterparts.
A report by the National Rural Health Alliance attributes these issues to the widening gap between regional and metropolitan Australia, and the growing number of people living in poverty in country areas.
The report recognises the reliance many of these communities have on farming, agriculture and increasingly, mining. When a bad season hits, everyone suffers – from the farmers, their suppliers and buyers, to the local grocery store.
Families living in towns reliant on employment in service industries (for example, the retail sector) rely on the economic boost provided by the expenditure of farm incomes during good seasons; the obverse is that poor seasons and subsequent lack of farm incomes can translate to lower levels of employment and higher levels of underemployment in rural towns.
(A Snapshot of Poverty in Rural and Regional Australia)
Regional and rural areas also face population decline, as younger generations move away for further education and career opportunities they can’t access at home. As more people are drawn away from regional areas in search of work and money, further pressure is put on the roads, resources and already exorbitant housing costs in Australia’s capital cities.
It’s a harmful cycle which local councils and community groups all over Australia are trying to tackle. Relocating major industries and employers to rural areas isn’t feasible, and neither is moving more people to the city. But what about bringing the city jobs to country people – virtually?
Remote Work Hub founder Debbie-Jo Dutton strongly believes geography shouldn’t discriminate as technology allows anyone to work from almost anywhere. While there are some fields that can’t be delivered virtually, a large number of jobs across a wide range of industries can, and already do, allow people to work from home.
Remote Work Hub has listed thousands of verified genuine remote job vacancies since launching in February 2016, and their online jobs database is updated daily. Jobs are available with employers throughout Australia and most English speaking countries, across a variety of fields from tech, design, marketing and writing to customer service, transcription, translation, administration, project management and sales, even teachers, accountants, doctors and nurses can now work remotely.
People living in regional areas continue miss out on a lot of career opportunities that would otherwise be available to them in a big city. But in 2016, it doesn’t need to be that way. Both small businesses and major companies are employing distributed teams, providing remote work opportunities that allow people to work from home, or anywhere.
It means new generations of rural students can return home with qualifications they can use, and more people in rural and regional communities can continue to enjoy all the benefits of country life, with a level of job security, income, and opportunities for career progression never before seen in rural Australia.
Remote Work Hub lists new remote job vacancies daily. You can browse our database for the full list of jobs including full time, part time and freelance work from home and work from anywhere jobs.
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