The $7,000 regional relocation grant offered by the NSW government will now be extended to renters looking to purchase a house within a regional area.
Until recently, the payment had only been available to city homeowners leaving their homes to relocate regionally.
Deputy premier Andrew Stoner says the change will support the government’s efforts to encourage regional growth.
“The grant will support efforts to ease Sydney’s tight rental market and help to boost population growth in regional areas to meet the expected increase in demand for jobs being driven by our regional infrastructure and business growth,” Mr Stoner said.
Peter Mitchell from Peter Mitchell Property Management told Residential Property Manger the grant had been successful in his suburb of Orange, with several people relocating to receive the grant. Mr Mitchell did, however, doubt the grant's capacity to ease the pressure on the rental market in the city.
“The constantly evolving nature of Sydney’s rental market means the grant is unlikely to have a significant overall impact. However, it could be successful in alleviating the pressure on day care centres, roads and schools, which are currently severely overcrowded,” he said.
Opposition spokesman Mick Vetich has strongly criticised the grant due to the fact only 1,700 payments have been made since the scheme was introduced in 2011.
“The scheme should be scrapped. It didn’t work. The government has to admit that it didn’t work and instead, the money should be used to create new employment opportunities in country areas,” he said.
Mr Mitchell stated he thought the grant was a good system, but it did need better publicity by the government. He also stated people can be reluctant to leave the place in which they grew up to move to new areas they may be unfamiliar with.
The state government has also launched a new Skilled Regional Relocation Initiative, which will pay $10,000 to anyone who moves to take up an unfilled job position in a regional area but doesn’t buy a house.
Mr Stoner said the government plans to relocate 1,500 public sector jobs from Sydney to regional New South Wales by 2021.