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

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Presentation Transcript
slide1

Why do people move to the Northern Territory?

Why do they leave?

Dr Tom Wilson

School for Social and Policy Research

Charles Darwin University

slide2
Background

High rates of migration turnover in the NT

 costs for business; loss of expertise; sense of history

slide3

Background

Over last 20 years net migration has averaged zero

i.e. all population increase in NT has come from natural increase (births – deaths)

slide4

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

types of work related moves role of organisations clearly important
Types of work-related moves

Role of organisations clearly important

slide7

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

slide8

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

slide9

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%

slide10

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

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…

Personal relationships

One fifth of moves motivated by personal relationships

slide12

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…

Lifestyle

Some moved to the NT primarily for the lifestyle. The word ‘lifestyle’ can cover many things, and survey participants mentioned:

slide13

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

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

Accidental movers

Came on a visit and stayed

slide15

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

slide16

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

slide17

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”

slide18

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”

slide19

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”

slide20
Could intending leavers be persuaded to change their minds?

* Non-Indigenous adults stating they intended to leave within 10 years

slide21

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

slide22

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”

slide23

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”

slide24

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.

slide25

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.

slide26

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

the future population of the nt 2006 31 projection assumptions status quo scenario
The future population of the NT, 2006-31

Projection assumptions – status quo scenario

slide34

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