Series 1: Episode 4 – Daniel Fletcher


Written by Bec Bignell

As a city kid from metropolitan Melbourne, Daniel Fletcher never in a million years envisioned he’d wind up living in regional Australia.

He was first enticed out from the suburbs in pursuit of a professional opportunity with the Central Highlands Regional Council and the taste for regional life was enough to get him hooked.

His career then took him from outback Queensland to Darwin and it was here in the Northern Territory that he learned to appreciate the true value of experiences in nature.

“We did a lot of traveling on weekends – whether it was Litchfield out to Kakadu down to Katherine, we even did a very large road trip across to Broome and came back to spend a bit of time in The Kimberly as well. I think the combination of living up there and having a young family essentially forces you to go out and enjoy some of those things. We’re incredibly grateful that we’ve got to experience that while our kids were young.”

Pinging from Darwin to Dalby for a role as the General Manager of Community and Liveability at Western Downs Regional Council, Daniel hit a minor hurdle when he couldn’t find a rental. Ever ready to think outside the box, he moved his family into a cottage on a mate’s cotton farm.

The novelty factor added to the experience and dialed up their love for regional living, especially what it meant for their kids – a couple of chickens, wide open spaces, and outdoor activities aplenty.

Series 1: Episode 4 - Daniel Fletcher - Image 1


Incentivised by the cheaper house prices and value for money in regional Australia, Daniel solved his rental conundrum by buying a house, “to provide some context as to why we’re so happy with the decision we were rapidly required to make around purchasing a home – we’ve got a four-bedroom two-bathroom contemporary home, it looks basically brand new on an acre block, and we paid $500,000 for it. You can’t even buy the land for that amount in any metropolitan area. It just felt like the dream is actually alive if you can make the choice of moving to a regional area.”

Additional to the reduced mortgage pressure, Daniel also felt a sense of freedom in the short commute to work as his office is located a few minutes down the road. While he can’t make it the full way through a pre-work-pump-up song, he can spend more time with family as he no longer spends hours battling peak hour traffic in the rat race.

“I’m not stuck in traffic ever….I don’t have to rush out to catch the 6.30 train or bus in the morning and I get that ability to spend time with my kids when they’re in those years of growing up. Plus, I’m home quickly when work is finished. I’m never going to get these years back when the kids are growing up, I hope it’s something we just never take for granted.”

Without a childhood connection to the regions Daniel has the benefit of approaching his experience with a genuinely fresh perspective that cuts through the misconceptions. He’s not influenced by nostalgia, or existing expectations, and he observes the benefits of regional living through a unique, contemporary lens.

“We’re so connected now in the digital world that sometimes it feels like you’re not that far away – whether it’s a city or a certain opportunity to purchase something with online shopping and the ability for it to be delivered. I think the misconception for me that was really quickly reorientated is that you’re far away and you’re just not you’re not.”

Dalby fully embraced Daniel and his family, and while he had to go through the standard process of establishing himself within the community it wasn’t a difficult position as he was immediately welcomed, “I’ve also met other people who have moved here, and they’ve said quite openly and quite frankly that they’ve never been to a place before where strangers are so welcome.”

Series 1: Episode 4 - Daniel Fletcher - Image 2


Working for the Western Downs Regional Council means Daniel is highly visible in the community and he welcomes the opportunity to engage in dynamic and robust conversations with locals who actively approach him when he’s out and about.

He recognises how important it is for the community to feel legitimately heard and supported, and his commitment to genuine engagement is such that he proudly wears his name badge into the local supermarket to openly invite discussion in his day to day, “I do tend to get stopped or interrupted down the isle at that the local supermarket. And I think it’s brilliant – I think it’s so great that we’ve got a community that really is engaged, and they’re engaged in a meaningful way. There’s no way we as an organization can create great outcomes without seriously having the community not only seem to be a part of a business but feel like a part of the development.”

Daniel’s excitement about the regions is so effusive he’s become an unintentional ambassador within his city circle, and he regularly appeals for them to take the leap and make the move.

He’s gone above and beyond to earn his stripes in the sticks and it’s safe to say Daniel has well and truly graduated from a ‘city-slicker blow-in’ to a fully-fledged country resident who loves everything about his regional life.

Daniel’s regional rouse:

“Don’t be afraid to reach your potential and be awesome. It’s not hard. It might feel like it’s hard, but the benefits are so much greater than what you could ever imagine when you’re putting a list together about the advantages of disadvantages of doing it. Challenge yourself to think – what is your potential and how awesome can you really be and regional areas can absolutely help you reach that potential.”


[00:01] Aussies are relocating from Capital Cities to Regional Australia in record numbers.

[00:09] We could give you all the stats about better house prices all the jobs on offer and higher levels of happiness. But what’s better than hearing from someone who’s made the move themselves.

[00:20] Welcome to you moved where the podcast where we interview everyday Aussies who have moved from the city to the country.

[00:29 ] I’m your host Bec Bignell a girl from Regional Australia who moved to the city and then you guessed it back to Regional Australia. This is you moved where?

[00:43] It’s a special kind of person to embrace being bailed up about Community concerns while in the local LIGA. But for Western Downs councillor Daniel Fletcher, it’s something he genuinely enjoys living in Regional. Australia wasn’t something the city boy from Melbourne had ever imagined but he was lured out to Regional Queensland for an exciting professional opportunity.

[01:04]Taste for regional life was enough to get him hooked and after a stint in the Northern Territory where his children were born he found himself in Emerald Queensland initially struggling to find a rental Daniel and his young family found themselves living in a cottage on a mate’s cotton Farm incentivized by the cheaper house prices and Valley for money. Daniel solved his rental conundrum by buying a house in Dalby where he currently works is the general manager of community and livability for the Western Downs Council Daniel threw himself into Community Life pulling on a jersey for the local AFL team bringing baked goods to work and whole heartedly listening to the things people want and understanding what they need. It’s safe to say that Daniel has truly earned his stripes graduating from City Slicker blowing to fully fledged country resident.

[01:56] Daniel Fletcher you moved where?

[01:58] to Dalby in the Western Downs Queensland and you and your wife Annabelle were Melbourne born and bred and then moved to Dalby.

[02:08] So what was life like growing up as a city kid?

[02:12] Yeah, I think it’s life’s pretty easy as a city kid. Fun fact is my wife and I were born in the same hospital that a year apart and met many years later in Queensland, but certainly our time growing up as young infant City children was fun. I had plenty of activities around lots of friends life was good.

[02:31] And I believe that you enjoy AFL which makes sense giving that you’re from Melbourne. We weekend field with AFL matches and I was keep games and things like that.

[02:42] Weekends mornings lunch at school after school. Every probably spare moment was filled with a football in hand. So I’m one of four siblings with two brothers and a sister and yeah, we’re all pretty pretty Keen sporting kids and that yeah, I feel being the predominant sport in Victoria and other parts of Australia, not so much here in Dalby. Although we do have the Dolby swans and I have put the boots on a few times for them. Yeah. Yeah. Definitely a very strong I feel supporter.

[03:13] Fantastic and in 2017 you first left City Life to the regional town of Emerald in Queensland where the population is 14,000. Tell me what took you there.

[03:25] It was simply the job opportunity at the time to progress my my career at that stage in local government as it still is now and the opportunity to presented itself and it was probably one of those cliché moments where it was an opportunity. I couldn’t turn down. So at that stage I was a single guy and I packed up everything I owned and threw it on the back of the unit drove out to Emerald and started life out there in 20 17.

[03:53]Wow. Emerald is such an amazing place, isn’t it? It’s got such a Vibrant Community and obviously is associated with cotton and yeah, just some incredible people that come out of that town. So tell me you went there as a single boy. And then how did you come to get partnered up?

[04:13] Emerald is a pretty great town. There’s so many things happening in.

[04:16] Place there and I guess a part of my role was traveling a little bit and one one moment. I was traveling. I remember I was in Brisbane with with the mayor at the time and a few other people for some work functions and just happened to meet a lovely lady in prison at the time and that was the beginning of I guess our blossoming romance and it didn’t take long probably only a couple of months to realize

that you know, this was something serious and then the some pretty quick decisions needed to be made around relocation and my wife Annabelle at the time was in a position where uplifting her life was a choice that she was comfortable making and I guess I must have done some things right early on and so yeah, she packed her bags and headed out to Emerald.

[05:07] That’s really interesting because obviously you have to have that conversation and like you’ve described at Evie’s a process to make sure that both parties are happy, too.

[05:17] To move into the regions together. What did you miss from City Life in that first move from Brisbane to Emerald?

[05:26] I don’t want to be as boring and say nothing, but I think it really was nothing probably the not being so close to I guess some family members and the close friends that you you establish when you’re in any location really and just that reorientating of your life. So that’s always a bit of a process but I think life’s hard choices in in life a heart. I mean we were comfortable making that harder choice at the time. Well, at least it felt like it was hard moving away from some things that we knew that were comfortable and ultimately it wasn’t that hard in the end very rapidly creative new friendship networks, and we’re connected in with Community groups and sporting clubs and all of those things that you would expect to be connected in within in a metropolitan area. So

[06:12 ]you really embraced that adventure and you were really adaptable and then you jump States again you head over to Darwin of all places the beautiful place that’s only swimmable what like three months the year

[06:24]and questionable against

[06:28]but yeah, there was an

[06:29]To be again with that same old cliche and it was a career progression opportunity for me as well. So at that specific time in our life Annabelle was pregnant with our first child. So I’m incredibly grateful that she was willing to move to the top end coming into what’s known as the wet season up there which is incredibly difficult from a weather perspective. Certainly if you’re if you’re pregnant, yeah. So we we took the journey up there. We were glazed about sort of 20 25 minutes south of Darwin there. And again, we probably really enjoyed it. I mean Darwin and all the territory the top end it’s kind of like the Last Frontier to some extent, you know, the weather can be challenging you probably either

love it or hate it and I certainly enjoyed it. I know my wife did while it was more problematic for her during some of the heavy and pregnancy stages. It really is a great place to get out and about and spend time Outdoors

[07:26]that’s amazing and hats off to Annabelle because I’m

[07:29]At the moment and it’s pretty hot over here in was so I can’t vouch for the humidity, which is another layer of difficulty, but I can completely relate to just that added challenge that he makes when you’re at this stage.

[07:47]Darwin is still a capital city, but it’s certainly not Melbourne or Brizzy. What city aspects do you feel still exist in Darwin?

[07:55]I think it’s just on a smaller scale of of the density going back to what I said before around living in a city can be hard just as living in a regional area can be hard but that one sort of finds this neat little balance between if you want some of these smaller coffee type Cafe urbanized environments. Darwin is really great for that. It does have a lot of that on offer you tend not to get that type of opportunity or development in some of the regional areas or when you do they’re just they’re just different. They’re more sort of Standalone and they I guess unless required to fit into the built form of the urban area and I think yeah, that was an enjoyable part. So we’re getting the Best of Both Worlds Darwin really is just a very very large Regional area. It is a capital city, but certainly doesn’t have the same you’ve talked about Darwin being where one of your kids was born.

[08:57] What is Your experience of having all the beauty of natural Hot Springs the Katherine River and a number of those kind of quintessential Australian landmarks at your doorstep as a young family

[09:06]and children were born up there. So we’ve got clear who’s three and Jack who’s just over one at the moment. We found it really beneficial. So we did a lot of traveling on weekends to whether it was Litchfield out to kakado down to Catherine even did a very large road trip across the broom. So drive across there and came back spend a bit of time in The Kimberly’s there as well. And I think the combination of being of living up there and having a young family essentially forces you to go out and enjoy some of those things. Whereas if you’re located on the East Coast somewhere just makes it just makes life harder to get to those natural beautifully beautiful places. Yeah. We’re really I think from a timing

perspective. We’re incredibly grateful that we’ve got to experience that while our kids were young.

[09:56 ]It’s it is it’s a stunning part of the world with just so many special qualities. I also had an opportunity as a kid to kind of see a fair bit of the regions because my dad was really passionate about the bush and so we did a lot of camping and things like that.

[10:10]What impact do you think exposure to these places has had on your children?[10:16]practically

[10:18]I’m not sure that my daughter will appreciate this when she gets older and can probably listen to it, but She was she’s very much an outdoor baby outdoor child, and she’ll just wonder with her with nothing on her feet and just go and take a wee in the garden over there. I mean mostly he’s just on another level of appreciating the how easy that was when we were up there and we lived on

[10:43] Sort of five acres out there. So no neighbors were certainly watching but I think just the the general level of comfort a young person can have be in nature being in the bush and not seeing I’m not being apprehensive to to that type of environment I think.

[10:59]And while that kids are still young I do think it’s gonna hold them really in good State as they as they grow up being open to those types of experiences in May 2022. You got to dalby in Queensland, you lived across three different states. What was the immediate thing, you know just about living in the Sunshine State when you arrived in Dalby.

[11:21]I don’t necessarily believe in the work-life balance concept, but certainly work-life Harmony and getting to Dolby Dolby is geographically really it’s brilliantly located. So we get the best of both worlds. We are only a couple hours drive from Southeast Queensland where some of our extended family are but certainly you’ve got that large metropolitan area should for whatever reason you need it and you’re also only two to three hour drive from some beaches or some variety of coastal areas, but we get the benefit of living in the bush living in this Regional area where I think that was initially the greatest[12:03]

The greatest learning the greatest observation when we got here. It’s really we do have the best of both worlds and there’s probably two really important challenges that we faced as many do when they go to a regional area and the first was around housing and the second was around child care. I was living on a mates cotton farm at the time. Not not too far from from dalby because there was just no available housing to have myself my wife. Yeah kids and we have two dogs as well. That was a little bit of a challenge and it actually resulted in us.

[12:35 ]Making a choice to buy a home probably sooner than we had planned to but that’s been a great outcome for us where incredibly happy with the purchase and where we live now and it also meant that we have to be a little bit more creative with the childcare scenario. So Annabelle had to drive clear probably 25 30 minutes just settle planes, which is just outside of Dolby there for probably four or five months to get clear into the daycare there and I think when you’re living in a regional area, ultimately that’s not too difficult. That’s not too complicated. It’s just probably something, you know plan for straight away with might be the convenience of ita childcare just a couple of kilometers away in some other areas. So we just had to get a bit creative with with those two things. And now our daughter Claire is in your local child care, which is much easier, but it’s just brilliant location of

[13:27] Having everything literally at our doorstep or within a couple hours drive which is which is nothing[13:31]there’s a few things to unpicking that question because it’s interesting like you say that sort of tyranny of distance that you have to just accept when you’re living in the country. What do you do when you have that drive like if you’re going to Brisbane or you know needing to move around for work, what are the things that you do to kind of you know, just accept that that’s what you’ve got ahead and make the most of that time.

[13:54] Yeah. Well, there’s probably some it’s been polarizing because the drive from my house to work is about four and a half minutes. I’m lucky to get one song in general. It might be the ABC radio or something that’s on but there’s nothing I can I don’t feel like I’m very productive on that drive. It’s so quick. So that’s one massive Advantage from being for living here compared to in the city. But as you say, sometimes we’ll have to travel and even between Dalby chinchilla miles some of our other Regional areas. It can be one to sometimes.

[14:27]Hours of driving to cover that often I think.[14:32]

Sadly, I’m probably on the phone trying to catch up on a few things with people obviously driving hands-free, but certainly audio books and podcasts seem to be some of the things that that keep me interested in those drives and I guess it also matters who else is in the car. So if the kids and it’s normally an interesting game trying to keep them occupied, but yeah from a work perspective. It’s technology is great now so you can just you can maintain up a really high level of productivity while you’re while you’re driving and doit safely. So yeah, that’s probably yeah best way to summarize that one

[15:05] you’ve described that you were on a cotton Farm. Can you please give me like painter picture of where you were living in that scenario?

[15:13] Yeah, one of my best mates. He’s out there runs there an organization, but that’s a business called porter and one side. There’s a little plug for him. I’m sure we’ll be happy with that. He’s our family operate continent and sorghum family. Yeah that way, so it was just convenient for[15:32]Be really very convenient. That’s that he lived in that area. So I could sort of jump on board for a few weeks while the transition down from the Northern Territory was was occurring Annabelle the kids were living with her sister in Brisbane. So we were sort of making that Trek again, which isn’t too bad on a Monday morning like I’d leave Brisbane and drive out to Dolby to start work. You wouldn’t want to do that every day obviously, but it wasn’t that concerning but I guess being out

[16:00] On the Cotton Farm was a nice way to reindoctrinate myself into into this area and really understand it. You know, that is the the lifeblood of most Regional areas and certainly this this area in regards to

[16:12] Cotton or agricultural or intensive agriculture at this way. And now we’ve got some extra layers in the energy space with wind farms Colson gas solar Farms as well. So we’re again really really brilliantly located to take advantage of some of those aspects. But yeah, it was on it was really just like coming home from from the Northern Territory when we were coming here. It was such a brilliant such a brilliant drive when it doesn’t matter if it’s early in the morning. Let me afternoon, you know, when the Sun hits whatever farming field and sort of reflect back onto the onto the the car car window. It’s just a beautiful moment that I just you cannot replicate it when you’re driving in the city or you’re driving on a highway between two suburbs those moments were I guess really enjoyable really pleasurable.


Yeah. Farm life is pretty incredible. Was it good having the kids get exposure to that environment or were they too young at that stage?

[17:12]And I clear certainly was up to her tricks making sure she and I found a spot to to pee when my when she was outside. And yeah, and and again just the opportunity where they’ve got 10 or 12 chickens and a few of the other things that you just don’t typically guess in a metropolitan area. Yeah, the kids really did enjoy them where we’re grateful that we’ve got those connections and at least clear at this stage has had that exposure. So I mean, I know now we we’re on a one acre property to provide some context is to act why we’re so happy with the decision. We were I guess rapidly required to make around purchasing your home is we’ve got a four bedroom two bathroom contemporary heart, you know, you look at it looks basically brand new on an acre block and you know, we pay 500,000 for it and you just even that is just not possible and you can’t even buy the land for that anyway in any Metropol

[18:12]area and it just felt like the the dream is is actually alive if you[18:19]Can make the choice of moving to a regional area and we’re only two hours two and a half hours really away from or the Brisbane airport is only two and a half hours[18:28]telling you for money and not having that really intense mortgage pressure is definitely a major cell and do you feel like you know having a house that changes your perspective in terms of the time that you see yourself staying because it feels more permanent.

[18:44]Yes, certainly my the CEO here and the mayor well, I guess taking the opportunity to reinforce all that means I’ll be around for a very long time and it will too. I mean we’re incredibly happy with we’re Overjoyed with our decision to be here and it’s just no no version of our life in the short medium term which sees us moving and that there’s probably a variety of reasons for that but primarily because it’s such a good place to have kids when they when they’re growing up and I think most Regional areas.

[19:18] A benefited from that aspect and you know, we we don’t really have to make a decision. I mean, we don’t know maybe our one of the kids will have a particular interest in something that might be obscure and as a result, we make a decision in a decade’s time. But you know for us that short medium term Outlook is is Dalby and sort of Western Downs orientated. So yeah, I think the decision to purchase for us in particular when there’s such a challenge around housing Supply and housing affordability Nationwide.

[19:52]And it was a great moment to know that, you know, we could we could own our home.[19:57]Live as you would typically see a normal family and not have the pressures or at least the cost of living pressures that other young families will be experiencing in the ordinarians.

[20:10] And I suppose because you’re very visible within the community, you know playing on footy teams or buying your groceries that the local LGA. Then you’re going to be held accountable to everyone that has an opinion about the things you do. How do you approach the

[20:27]the[20:28]feedback that you might get in person? Does that happen?[20:31]It does it happens regularly and I I often say that I’m I’m actually really proud to wear my name badge when I might be the shops if I have to go there after after work or even during lunch and it’s people notice it and certainly if interacting with them or if aware of who I might be I do tend to get stopped or interrupted down the oil that the local supermarket.[20:59]And I think it’s brilliant. I think it’s so great that we’ve got a community that really is engaged and they’re engaged in the meaningful way and I there’s no way we as an organization can create great outcomes without[21:12]seriously, having the community and a variety of those stakeholders that are some that are indirectly involved and certainly those that are directly involved in some of the decisions be[21:23]not only seem to be a part of a business. I feel a part of the the development and some a lot of these decisions. So yeah, I really do enjoy the alternative is that you know myself or other staff members don’t put their badge on with pride and the community, you know seek you out for for other disingenuous reason. It’s actually a by product of the brilliant leadership that our mayor shows and the way that the council as a group operate with such Harmony leadership really does come from the top and when you see and you’re exposed to that type of leadership, it actually probably adds itself throughout the community now, I’m gonna ask goal posts. So as a regional person when I go to Regional towns and different states, the first thing I look at on ovals is AFL posts or League posts and then I can sort of figure out what community that I mean you’ve talked about playing

for the AFL team.

[22:23] In Queensland, is it an AFL town or a league town?[22:27]It’s definitely not an AFL town by will be swans. Teammates will be frustrated that I’ve said that but that’s the reality. We’re very strong rugby league Community here second to Rugby Union and there would probably be a number of other sports that sit between the two rugby cards and AFL unfortunately, but no, I think that’s great. I mean even that we are a regional area. We do have an AFL team. We yeah, we certainly have no option to discriminate will allow anyone to come and play because we need the numbers and it’s such a great Vibe around all the clubs really that yeah, you’re right and one of the great things is when you drive in to Dolby from Toowoomba is you pass the majority of our sporting fields on the right hand side of the warrior highway there and you’ll see the AFL Gold Coast, which is also used as one of three Cricket ovals, and then you’ll pass the tennis and you’ll see the union and[23:27]That the league fields as well. And by that time you will have already passed the the Dolby horse racing track. So you’re certainly plenty of sporting options.

[23:37] Yeah, recreational activities are very plentiful in Regional towns and communities, aren’t they? Tell me what you do socially in Dolby as well to enjoy your time outside of work.

[23:50 ]Probably split that into a couple of responses one. It’s the family time. So, you know, we spend a bit of time traveling around to some of the different areas we’ve got and we’ve got a great variety and schedule of community events that happen right throughout our region. So we we tend to find ourselves at those and we’ve got the chinchilla Watermelon Festival coming up next weekend. If you haven’t heard of it people need to do themselves a favor and jump online and attend that whenever they can but yeah, the bunion mountains are something that’s a really valuable asset for our region. So we My Wife and Kids, we spend a bit of time up there and feeding the birds and fly on your head and doing it doing some of the walks around around that area there besides that I think it’s probably I mean we’re besides the the time spent with family. It’s really that socializing aspect with the rest of the community and all the different groups that are involved and my sense since arriving here last[24:50]Well, I think we’ve been asked about eight times maybe nine times now to participate in one form of a community team sport or another and that’s certainly how I got right into the local footy team and Annabelle’s been doing her best to you know, make herself available

for some of those as well. But I think that that’s it. There’s just so much so much happening. So it’ll be between you know shopping in socializing or going to spend some time camping it one of the different locations whether that’s like Broadwater the Tara Lagoon collegial Lagoon. Yeah. This is just so much going on

[25:25]my husband Jim and I really connected when we’re in the regions because you know, you don’t have all the distractions of City Life. Yes kids and priorities and responsibilities coming to play but do you feel like your partnership within the regions is really well supported by being in a community outside of the city.[25:45]Yeah. I’m I’m incredibly lucky to have a great.

[25:50]Have a great wife and a great partner and I would certainly wouldn’t suggest that you have to be partnered up to move to a regional area. But[25:57]If you’ve got career Ambitions being able to support each other and being able to to do that in a community that’s not disconnected from families. And that’s what I find in certainly in Dolby. And then the other Regional areas that I’ve been is it you as an individual and you as a team actually a connected in with the success of the broader Community where I feel like you get lost, you know in a big city or it’s very easy to get lost and you know, I’d probably my friends sometimes and you know, tell them to stop being afraid of their potential because you can’t there’s no way to hide out here in some of these Regional areas where you can very easily

[26:34]I guess you know fly under the radar in a metropolitan area and certainly if you’re motivated enough to to go out and about with the community events of the involved in certain things and I think you know that convenience specially when you you know, you your partnered up and there might be a variety of different interests. It’s just so easy to so easy to access access the machine

[26:57]and I believe Annabelle is an incredible cook. What’s her specialty dish and does she serve it at home or

[27:05]Take it to the park took me through the culinary expertise Vanderbilt

.[27:11]Yeah, she is one hell of a baker. So she does a lot of whether it’s cakes or muffins Cupcakes Cookies those types of things and she definitely didn’t read the fine print prior to us getting married because I don’t eat much of that types of those types of food.

However, it actually works really to my advantage because she loves making it and most people are eating it. So I end up bringing it bringing to the office and the staff think it’s you know, it’s awesome that that I’m employed here because Annabelle is a part of the team The Wider team actually it’s interesting. I do tell this story with a little bit of[27:52]Judge, Illness but the last two jobs that I’ve moved on from there was comments from my staff that they would miss Annabelle more than they would miss me because I think I think that the message to that is more that coming here and using myself as the example is that the council benefits not just from me as an employee, but from you know,the wider The Wider family Network that I’m bringing because the community events that will go to won’t just be me turning up. It’ll be Annabelle and the kids and we want to get involved in things because because it’s just so great to do it.

[28:29]Can you tell me have you got any advice for someone who might have moved regionally or be thinking about regionally in terms of how they could find Community?[28:38]I think it’s just make sure you’re not at home. It’s really easy to nowadays, whether it’s you know, Netflix or stand or just freaking through the internet on your phone and to some extent that’s important because you can create some connections through there as well. But make sure you get out and about.

[28:56]So many and I’ve had this a number of times since I’ve moved to Dalby and I’ve met other people who have moved here.

[29:03]They have said[29:05]quite openly and quite frankly that they’ve never been to a place before where strangers are so welcome.[29:12]And it’s it’s quite literally you’ll just be walking down the street and someone will just acknowledge you to say g’day in the next thing you realize you’re in a deeper meaningful conversation about something and it’s set. It’s not even the Six Degrees of Separation here. It’s one degree. And then you realize that you’re connected with this person who’s at that group and then you know two days later you’re you’re down at the local tennis club or whatever. It might be and I think it’s to make the most of the opportunities in the regional energy just have to be well fortuneified as the Bold again really just be bold and try and get yourself out of any level of comfort at home.

[29:48]And were there any misconceptions or assumptions that you might have made before you move to the regions like as living regionally helped you understand Regional life.

[30:00]Yeah, definitely and that’s probably more by circumstance rather than Choice. You’re thrust amongst it straight away. It’s we’re set we’re so connected now in the digital world that sometimes it feels like you’re not that far away from[30:15]whether it’s a city or a certain opportunity to purchase something, you know with online shopping and the ability for it to just be delivered nowadays.

[30:24]I think the the misconception was for me that was probably really quickly reorientated is that you’re far away and you would you just not you’re not that far away from whether whether it’s a you know, any type of service that you need. I know that all of our regional areas would

[30:45]Benefit from and appreciate additional services, but certainly we have whether it’s education or health and you know Child Care we’ve spoken about some of those but they’re all they’re all here. They’re all available. Yes, sometimes they might be a small waiting period but that’s the I think that’s the the trade-off the trade-off is yes, you might not be able to walk straight into the doctor, but you can go to the hospital. If you need to get something it’s there, you know could probably do a whole another podcast on things like that and what Regional areas need. Yeah. My takeaway in my misconception would have been that you’re not you’re actually not that far away.

[31:23]Fair enough and I think you’ve done enough time now in the country and you’ve championed the region story for long enough that you can have your badge to say that you’re fully fledged Regional person.

[31:38]Even though you’ve been there for some time some locals who have been there forever might still consider you are blowing. So we’re gonna say that you definitely can identify as a Rachel person now, but do you think that your life would have been different if you’d been raised as a country

[31:53]kid?[31:54]Possibly. I think the benefit of my journey is that with with actively chosen to be here. Now, you know, there was there was not really something that forced us, but when we could very easily pick

up and take on a you know, a rental and a job somewhere in some City, but that’s just not what we want. And I think I think if I grew up properly in a regional area, we probably just would have wanted it more. So I don’t know. I mean it’s hard to it’s hard to think what what might have been different. I know that I often do talk to people here about one of the challenges Regional areas face. Certainly when the high school students are growing up is put the perspective or that this perceived right of passage to go from a regional area into a let’s just call it a larger area of metropolitan area where there might be going to University or just spreading their wings, you know launching from home, whatever whatever we terminology we want to use and I think that is still really important because I don’t think you’ll get

[32:54]That full satisfaction from just staying in the one place certainly not in those formative years when you’re growing up, but I think what’s brilliant about it. Is that a lot of those people and I know we’ve got some bursary students at the council here who are from the area studying away and and we offer them an opportunity to come back and work during their University holidays where they get paid we can’t put on enough roles for the amount of applicants to come in because people do want to come home. They do want to come back to the region and we’re just really grateful now that this is where we call home.

[33:28] What did you feel like you’ve given up? And what do you feel like you’ve gained by moving recently?

[33:33] maybe the opportunity for[33:38]Sunday roasted mum’s house all the time. But again that’s a byproduct of our circumstance where you know and a real in my mothe rthey live in metropolitan areas. So but the trade off for that is Annabelle cooks are pretty mean rice as well. So yeah, that’s probably the only thing I can think of that we’ve given up that’s

[33:59] Meaningful what we’ve gained and I’ll probably split this into two ones professionally when you when you move to a regional area, you’re there is so much more you have to do and I won’t speak on the heart of another industry or another role, but certainly from a local government perspective. You can get lost in the big cities if you were working for one of those councils, whereas here the breadth of what you need to learn what not only what you need to learn what you need to feel and how your hands need to be involved in these things. But you actually just get a much broader experience across across the professional spectrum of what you might be doing and I think that goes almost exclusively for every industry in all regional areas. So from a professional perspective, I don’t think you can get greater experience, even if it was 12 months, that would

be I think I would far out way any opportunities you get a metropolitan area, so

[34:58] Personally, I think the greatest thing we’ve gained and I briefly mentioned it earlier in regards to the four-minute drive to work. I mean, I’m not stuck in traffic ever. The challenge is I don’t have to rush out to catch the six thirty train or whatever bus in the morning or you know know that I’m going to be stuck in traffic for however long it’s working stay at home and I get that ability to spend time with my kids when they’re in those years of growing up plus I’m home pretty quickly too when when works finished. I’m never when we’re never gonna get these years back when the kids are growing up. So not only do we love it. But it’s it’s this opportunity that by design of being out here now, it’s just a part. It’s I hope it’s something we just never take for granted because other people and I know a lot of my friends who probably in the regional areas are you know, we’re often chatting and they’re often frustrated about the the pressures of life. You know, we’re all sort of challenged by the cost of living precious, but when you[35:58]Additional layers of time having to travel to and from work and I know that certain cities have you know, relatively efficient public transport and that’s not I don’t think that’s the issue. I think the issue is

[36:12]That you just can’t locate yourself. I’m not everybody can anyway, so close to their work even with remote work now that hasn’t and that’s still available to our staff here. So you you just personally I know we are getting what we’ve gained is that that time that we will never get back.[36:29]And if you were pitching living regionally to someone who was thinking about it, maybe just about to dip their toe in the water. What would you say[36:38]don’t be afraid to reach your potential and be awesome.[36:43]It’s not it’s not hard. It might feel like it’s hard but the benefits are so much greater than what you could even imagine when you’re probably putting a list together about the advantages of disadvantages of doing it. I just I really challenge challenge yourself to think about. What is your what is your potential and how awesome can you really be and you know Regional areas can absolutely help you reach that potential.

[37:07]Thank you so much Daniel. It’s been a pleasure to have someone like you on who’s got so much passion for their community and also has a

real sense of being approachable which is really important because you know council’s play such a critical role in small communities in making sure they’re really functional for living and make the lifestyle really enjoyable and the places that we love to live. So thank you so much for your time today and for sharing your thought sand experience. We really appreciate it.

[37:35] All right. Thanks. Thanks. It’s been a pleasure.

[37:37 ]We move where is made on the land of the Kenny young people with Daniel Fletcher joining us from the land of the baranga people.[37:47]We would like to acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the traditional custodians of the land and pay respects to Elders past and present.

[37:57]This episode was produced by grace rufry and hosted by me. Thank Bicknell.[38:03]Make sure you follow us wherever you get your podcasts because our next week’s episode. You’ll hear stories like this people don’t understand but that’s Aboriginal weakening the ball fields and all the families and all the different language groups all to get together and all the boys are out running thankfully with all their different colours. It’s just you have to be there to see it.[38:26]You moved where is brought to you by and the regional Australia Institute?

[38:35]Move to more is supported by the Australian federal government. And if you head to you can search almost 2000Regional towns and cities to find your favourite Regional destination. And in the same place find your dream home and job.


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