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Internal migration and Australia's agricultural regions

  • Year: 2005
  • Author: Matthew Tonts
  • Journal Name: Dialogue
  • Journal Number: Vol.24, No.2
  • Country: Australia

Australia's inland agricultural areas have experienced steady population decline over the past 40 years, largely as a result of structural adjustment in agriculture, policy reform, service and infrastructure rationalisation, and diminishing employment opportunities. This article provides an overview of the patterns and processes of migration affecting two inland agricultural regions, the Wimmera-Mallee in Victoria, and the Wheatbelt in Western Australia (WA). These regions are typical of extensive inland agricultural regions across Australia. The article examines the general economic, social and political trends in these regions and how they have shaped the patterns of migration. It is argued that the main factors driving out-migration include economic adjustments in the agricultural sector, technological change and social preferences. Governments and communities have pursued a range of strategies to reverse, or at least slow, out-migration from agricultural regions.

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