Almost One In Six Working-Aged Australians Move Houses Once A Year But Few Do So For Their Jobs

Australians are far more likely to move houses to suit their personal circumstances than for work, and there’s little the Government can do to convince them to move to skills-short regions, the Productivity Commission has found.

The Geographic Labour Mobility report, released today, found almost one in six working-aged Australians (16%) moved houses once a year, based on analysis of 2011 Census data.

A vast majority of Australians relocated over short distances, and tended to base their decisions on wages, the costs of housing, preferences like the size of a city and weather, and family and friends.

Housing and family were far greater factors for Australians who chose to relocate than movers from other countries. From the report:

Only about 10% to 17% of Australians relocated for work reasons, according to the report.

And while unemployed people were more likely to move for work, “long-term unemployed” and discouraged jobseekers were actually less mobile than the average Australian due in part to housing costs, lower levels of education and skills, poorer health and greater reliance on family networks.

The Productivity Commission said Australia’s labour force was generally mobile enough to address economic changes but there was room for improvement.

Based on Australians’ reasons for moving, the commission suggested that there was little the government could offer to directly convince people to move to address skills shortages like teaching and healthcare in remote Australia.

It made a raft of recommendations, including that the government address impediments to mobility such as rent assistance arrangements, cutting stamp duties and ensuring that occupational licensing rules were consistent across the country.

Moving interstate

The Productivity Commission found that a vast majority of movers relocated over short distances, with only about 1.5% of Australians moving interstate overall.

In the past decade, the mining capitals of Queensland and Western Australia consistently gained interstate migrants while New South Wales and South Australia lost residents to other states, the commission reported.

However, international migration offset the decline in the Australian-born population, especially in large cities like Sydney and Melbourne.

Only South Australia and Tasmania were reported to have experienced a decline in population share over time.

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