Australians and international migrants will be offered thousands of dollars to move to the Northern Territory (NT) under the region’s new population strategy, the region’s Chief Minister Michael Gunner announced on Wednesday.
The aim is to boost stagnating population growth in the territory.
Under the scheme, new Territorians with jobs considered “high priority” by the NT government will receive financial aid to help with moving and living costs.
Families that relocate will receive up to 7,000 Australian dollars (5,149 U.S. dollars), couples 6,000 Australian dollars (4,413 U.S. dollars) and singles 3,000 Australian dollars (2,206 U.S. dollars).
The list of high priority occupations includes accountants, aeroplane pilots, early childhood teachers, plumbers, electricians, chefs, forklift drivers and hairdressers.
“Just about every regional centre in Australia is trying to grow their population. It’s a national trend,” Gunner told reporters in Darwin on Wednesday.
“We have to combat this, get the jump on our competitors, by having the edge. A clincher. Remove the barriers we know stop people taking the plunge.
“Moving costs are an example of such a barrier. We’re going to break these barriers.”
The NT is the least populous of Australia’s six states and two territories with only 246,100 people calling it home at the end of June 2017.
It is also the slowest-growing of any of the states and territories with the population rising only 6.4 percent between September 2011 and June 2017.
By comparison, the population of Victoria grew 12.1 percent in the same period.
Every new Territorian will also be eligible for a 1,250 Australian dollars (919 U.S. dollars) local benefit bonus to spend in the first two years.
Those that make it past five years will be eligible for a cash payment equal to the original figure for families, couples and singles.
“The total benefit for a family would be more than 15,000 Australian dollars (11,030 U.S. dollars) over five years,” Gunner said.
“This is mounting a pretty strong case to make the move.”
Registration for the scheme opens on November 1 with the NT government committing 14 million Australian dollars (10.2 million U.S. dollars) to fund it.