Grants take-up slow

ADVERTISING the availability of a State Government grant may help overcome its slow start, according to Clarence Valley Mayor Richie Williamson.

Cr Williamson's comments follow this week's announcement by the NSW Office of State Revenue that just 49 people had taken advantage of the State Government's Regional Relocation Grant in its first three months of operation despite an opportunity to pick up an easy $7000.

The scheme was introduced on July 1 to encourage city dwellers to relocate to rural and regional areas, such as the Clarence Valley.

The government hoped the initiative would decentralise NSW and take pressure off Sydney.

In order to be eligible for the grant, people needed to move to nominated areas of NSW and buy an owner-occupied home valued at less than $600,000.

The purchaser also had to sell his or her home in Sydney to qualify.

The Government initially hoped the scheme would be taken up by 10,000 households a year.

That number has now been dropped to 7000 because of the slow take-up.

But Cr Williamson says the government shouldn't give up on the scheme.

Instead, he says the government needs to push the initiative with an advertising campaign.

"I think every effort needs to be made to encourage people to move to regional NSW," he said.

"And the grants the State Government has on offer helps.

"We would encourage everyone who is thinking about moving to the Clarence Valley, who may be here on holidays, to take advantage of the money and relocate."

Cr Williamson said without promoting the scheme, the initiative risked becoming a big flop.

"I think that the State may be able to help with the promotion of that $7000 grant," he said.

"That would ensure that the message is getting to those in Sydney that regional NSW and the Clarence Valley is open for business and we are a viable, vibrant business hub.

"We'd certainly encourage everybody thinking about moving to the Clarence to take advantage of the money on offer."

The Daily Examiner understands the NSW Office of State Revenue (OSR) has begun its own promotion of the grants.

The OSR has held seminars at regional lifestyle trade shows and retirement expos.



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