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Why do people move to the Northern Territory? Why do they leave? Dr Tom Wilson School for Social and Policy Research Charles Darwin University.

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Presentation on theme: "Why do people move to the Northern Territory? Why do they leave? Dr Tom Wilson School for Social and Policy Research Charles Darwin University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Why do people move to the Northern Territory? Why do they leave? Dr Tom Wilson School for Social and Policy Research Charles Darwin University

2 Background High rates of migration turnover in the NT  costs for business; loss of expertise; sense of history

3 Background Over last 20 years net migration has averaged zero i.e. all population increase in NT has come from natural increase (births – deaths)

4 NT Mobility Project Need to understand the drivers of migration in order to inform policy. ARC Linkage Project with NT Treasury and ABS, 2005-08, investigating the patterns and processes of migration to and from the NT. Surveys  Computer Assisted Telephone Interview Survey  In-depth semi-structured interviews  Postal survey of migration  Studies of certain professional groups

5 Why do people move to the NT? Reasons given for moving to the NT% Work-related reasons65 To be closer to, or with, family/partner/friends20 Lifestyle7 Return home4 Came to visit and stayed2 New start/sea change2 Education2 Weather/climate2 Disliked previous place/escape problems1 Natural environment1

6 Types of work-related moves Role of organisations clearly important Type of move% Transfer/posting with existing employer for self22 Transfer/posting with existing employer for partner11 New job with new employer for self37 New job with new employer for partner19 Business opportunity for self5 Business opportunity for partner2 Other5

7 Transfers and postings Many different types of organisation: defence force law firms Commonwealth Government administration telecommunications companies national retailers Australia Post the federal police major banks television companies insurance companies customs tourism operators airlines real estate agencies accountancy firms construction companies mining companies

8 Gender inequality: women as ‘tied movers’ For those who moved as couples/families, migration to the NT is dominated by factors associated with the male partner’s job. 14% of male participants stated that they moved for their partner’s job 25% of females reported that their own job was the main reason for moving

9 Relocation expenses Did anyone assist you with relocation expenses when you moved to the Territory? Yes: 52% No: 48% Would you have moved to the Territory without this support? Yes: 51% No: 49%

10 Do higher wages/salaries attract people to the NT? Only in a minority of cases. The in-depth interviews showed that moving to the Territory provided the opportunity for career advancement and a greater breadth of experience. Higher pay sometimes played a role in the decision- making process, but for many migrants to the NT higher pay was intimately bound up in a general desire for career advancement and satisfaction

11 Personal relationships One fifth of moves motivated by personal relationships We had a 3000 km long-distance relationship so I moved to be closer to my partner. to live near relatives… to be with my son up here … to watch my grandchildren grow up … I came for a holiday, met a girl, and stayed …. Our children live here. We were getting older and couldn’t count on our neighbours to take care of us. I came to the Territory on my way around Australia and met my husband to get away from my family… “ ”

12 Lifestyle Some moved to the NT primarily for the lifestyle. The word ‘lifestyle’ can cover many things, and survey participants mentioned: the laid back lifestyle… … for the weather and the fishing … to escape the big city rat race … fishing and hunting we can always do things outdoors… more peaceful and community minded… a quieter place to live… it’s an easy lifestyle I like the outdoors lifestyle – camping, fishing, motor biking and four-wheel driving… “ ”

13 Returning home Some survey participants mentioned “returning home”. Not really a reason for migration as such, but it is a reminder that many movers to the NT are returnees. 48% of participants in the CATI who moved to the NT 1997-2006 had lived in the NT before (either because they are NT-born or had moved to the NT before) These answers demonstrate feelings of place attachment, or ‘moorings’ to the NT

14 Accidental movers Came on a visit and stayed I came to visit my cousins and only meant to stay for a short time We were travelling around Australia and stopped to earn some money Came for a holiday and liked it The Territory’s where the van broke down I was travelling round Australia, got to Alice, and thought ‘this is the place to stay’ We came for a holiday and liked it so much we never returned to Tasmania “ ”

15 Why do people leave the NT? Many people move to the NT with the intention of moving out after some period * Non-Indigenous adults who moved to the NT between 1997 and 2006

16 Why do you expect to leave the NT?* * Non-Indigenous adults who moved to the NT between 1997 and 2006 stating they intended to stay for less than 10 years

17 Reasons for leaving the NT: work-related Dissatisfaction with opportunities in NT public service: “I felt that the NT public service was not interested in developing people of my age” Reluctant move south for husband’s career Unpleasant working environment at one particular hospitality workplace Unfulfilling work in medical field: “they were doing practices that were out of the 1970s”

18 Reasons for leaving the NT: family-related “I got pregnant and wanted to make sure that my baby grew up with my sister and her family near us, so that’s when I decided to move” “I wanted the kids to know their cousins and aunties so we moved for family reasons” “Both of us are lucky to have our parents alive down south, but they’re in their 80s. There was a strong pull to be back closer to them”

19 Reasons for leaving the NT: climate “Too bloody hot” “Don’t like the cyclone season” “I want to go somewhere where it gets cold” Retiree wanted to do lots of gardening in retirement. “The build-up was getting to me. October, November, December was just so bloody uncomfortable” “Had enough of the heat”

20 Could intending leavers be persuaded to change their minds? * Non-Indigenous adults stating they intended to leave within 10 years

21 What might encourage you to stay permanently?* * Non-Indigenous adults stating they intended to leave within 10 years who answered ‘yes’ or ‘maybe’ to the question about something persuading them to stay

22 Would stay if work was better “Income for teachers is higher here but it’s going backwards because of the cost of living” “a better job opportunity or a promotion” “if the perks and allowances were reinstated” “I would stay if I got an increase in salary” “if I got a little more respect from my employer” “if I could get more work in Darwin I would definitely think about staying”

23 Would stay if more/better education “If the schooling was up to scratch” “If CDU had better social science I might stay” “If I could complete my studies here” “being able to access better education opportunities” “better standard of education for the kids”

24 Migration is complex It is never due to just one “factor”. Individual and family move/stay decisions are made within a wider context that encompasses  Labour market  Decisions of companies/organisations  Housing market  Personal networks  Needs of other family members etc.

25 Economic factors predominate in the NT The size, structure & operation of the NT economy is key to understanding migration to and from the Territory.  Small economy  Types of industry  Employment practices of major employers (e.g. fixed term contracts, postings, etc.) Even for people who are motivated to move for non- economic reasons, the availability of employment is often a facilitating factor.

26 Concluding comments NT Mobility Project is moving towards a better understanding of migration to & from the NT Also helpful to understand, in the context of so much mobility, why some people reside in the NT long-term Can migration turnover be reduced through policy intervention? Possibly slightly. Maybe better to: accept high migration turnover but manage it better focus on increasing the size of the NT economy maintain high fertility rates

27 What is the likely population of the Territory in 20 years’ time?

28 The future population of the NT, 2006-31 Projection assumptions – status quo scenario IndigenousNon-Indigenous TFR2.72.0 Life expectancy69.8 (m) 76.9 (f)83.7 (m) 87.3 (f) Net interstate mig-100 p.a.-400 p.a. Net overseas mig0660 p.a.

29 The future population of the NT

30 Growth in the NT Indigenous population

31 Proportional age structure change in the NT Indigenous population, 2006-26

32 Growth in the NT non-Indigenous population

33 Proportional age structure change in the NT non-Indigenous population, 2006-26

34 Concluding comments Under a status quo scenario considerable population growth much ageing But projections are very uncertain for the NT - much depends on economic growth & interstate competition for workers - fertility could fall - overseas migration could drop


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