Glen Innes Severn Council recently conducted a survey directly targeted at people who had moved to Glen Innes Highlands within the last 10 years with very encouraging results.  There were 91 survey respondents with 46% of respondents under 44 years of age, aligning with external surveys indicating a trend towards younger tree-changers moving to rural areas.

Just over 60% of Glen Innes Highlands tree changers have either an Associate, Bachelor or Graduate degree and over 65% are either employed locally or self-employed contributing to boosting our skilled labour workforce.

Semi and active retirees are also well represented with 28% of tree-changers between 55 to 64 years of age.

Aligned with our visitor economy Glen Innes Highlands tree changers are moving from Interstate QLD, Coastal NSW, NSW Capital City & Surrounds and within the New England Region – collectively representing 81.61% of respondents.  This key insight will be used in our marketing strategy to attract more tree-changes and visitors to Glen Innes.

Where did you come from

Why are they moving to our town?  Some may assume that family connection would be the predominant reason however survey respondents have provided a pleasing contextual insight.  18.30% of respondents indicated their tree-change was to ‘be close to family who live in Glen Innes’ or ‘take over a family business (8.05%) – by comparison 37%.93% moved for the rural lifestyle and 24.14% moved because they ‘Visited the town & liked it’ and 22.99% ‘For work/employment/job’.

Reasons for moving to Glen Innes

The intrinsic link between our visitor economy and our tree changers validates our strategy to continue to focus our initiatives to grow our visitor economy, attract professionals and specialists and grow our population in order to maintain, sustain and boost our local economy.

The recent Outlandish Gathering attracted over 400 Outlander fans to Glen Innes Highlands injecting money into our local economy – those businesses that opened on the weekend reported an increase in their average sales both retail and hospitality businesses.

As an example the Visitors Information Centre saw a 78% increase in sales during Outlander Weekend.  Yes, we had a stall at the event on the Saturday – so half that figure for arguments sake – and it’s still a strong indication of the impact large events can have on business’s bottom line.  I would encourage businesses in the main street to consider opening longer on weekends when there is a large event on.

You can keep up to date with what’s coming up through the Glen Innes Highlands website or Facebook page to enable business to convert these opportunities and contribute to the visitor experience.  And, go to for the new Glen Innes Highlands Prospectus where there is a hosts of opportunities for the entrepreneurial.

Council’s four-year Delivery Plan’s  Economic Development actions focus on: Facilitation of Market & Business Opportunities; Strengthening the Glen Innes Highlands Brand; Facilitating Growth & Supporting Business Development; Recognising & Supporting the Agricultural Economy; Initiatives to Grow our Population.

The Regional Economic Development Strategy sees the region as “strong and growing with caring, creative and connected communities that leverages its high country climate, quality lifestyle, natural environment, resources and proximity to international gateways and the burgeoning southeast Queensland market.”

This financial year’s Operating Plan focuses on Promoting the Visitor Economy, Preparing a Management & Master Plan for the Centennial Parklands and continuing to Convert Funding Opportunities.  The value of successful grants so far this financial year is $6,172,905 and there is another approx. $5,000,000 lodged or in progress.

Going forward into the next couple of years we will be working on leveraging key initiatives identified in the Regional Economic Development Strategy conducted and funded by the NSW Government including: Improve productivity and intensify the livestock sector; Expand & diversify horticulture & other agriculture (including cropping & apiary); Continue to grow the tourism & retiree sector; Support & facilitate tin & rare earth mining; Facilitate development of renewable energy; Support niche manufacturing.

Exciting times are ahead.

Margot Davis
Manager Economic Development, Glen Innes Severn Council