This Australian regional city relies on international migrants. Now it's hoping to attract locals

17/10/2020 11:47:00 PM

International migration has long played a role in the growth of NSW city Wagga Wagga. But with borders closed and net migration to Australia set to drop significantly over the next few years, there are concerns its economy will be hit hard.

International migration has long played a role in the growth of NSW city Wagga Wagga. But with borders closed and net migration to Australia set to drop significantly over the next few years, there are concerns its economy will be hit hard.

International migration has long played a role in the growth of New South Wales city Wagga Wagga. So with borders closed and net migration to Australia set to drop significantly over the next few years, there are concerns its economy will be hit hard.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter It has only been weeks since Robert Lun Gumring opened the doors to his new massage therapy business in Wagga Wagga, and already the locals are getting behind him.Print with images and other media Print text only Print Cancel The parents of a nine-year-old boy who struggled to access emergency dental care after he was accidentally hit in the mouth with a golf club say they were shocked their city did not have better services available.The birds need hollows in old trees to breed.Share on Facebook Share on Twitter It's an election for Canberrans like no other, and who voters want to lead the Australian Capital Territory for the next four years will soon be revealed.

"The clients who came in on the first week, they've already come back for the second week and the third week,” he told SBS News.Mr Gumring settled in Wagga Wagga, 460 kilometres south-west of Sydney, in 2013, after six years in a refugee camp in Malaysia.30am to 4.He had been forced to flee his home of Myanmar in fear of persecution for religious reasons.He says keeping them away involves a bit of persistence — you can try spraying them with water, putting a taut wire above railings, or using bird-safe netting to exclude them from areas.Wagga Wagga business owner Robert Lun Gumring says the city needs more people so that businesses can thrive.But despite the severity of his injuries, it took three hours to find a dentist who was available to treat him.SBS News His time in the camp was “hell”, he said, and only when he was finally able to settle in Wagga Wagga did he find “peace” with his wife and four young children.He has put forward his response to the COVID-19 crisis and last summer’s bushfires as proof of his party's status as experienced managers of the ACT.

Mr Gumring previously worked in disability support and aged care, and after years training as a masseuse, 'Lun Asian Massage' is the business he's long dreamed of.At one stage the boy's parents contacted the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne and were preparing to take their traumatised son on the 90-minute drive so he could be treated."The worst I ever heard was a flock of 150 that sounded like a freight train.“The reason that I'm running my business is especially for my family," he said.Mr Gumring is among the thousands of migrants contributing to the local economy in Wagga Wagga, setting up new businesses, or filling vital gaps in the job market.Calls for help unanswered The boy's mother said her son was playing with a friend when the accident happened about 4:30pm on October 3.But, he said, the city must continue to grow for businesses like his to really thrive.They have other shorter calls for communication, she adds."If there is more population, it means people who have businesses will succeed."One of his teeth was smashed into the roof of his mouth and the other was broken down to the gum and his face was swollen up," she said.Liberal Leader Alistair Coe argues the recovery from the pandemic presents the chance to choose a new way forward for the territory - campaigning with a pledge to “lower the cost of living” for Canberrans.

We need more people in Wagga.” Population growth a priority The city's need for more people is no secret." Staff from both hospitals spent hours unsuccessfully trying to track down a dentist, while the mother's family and friends were frantically calling dozens of private dental clinics in Ballarat.And she knows when Pumpkin is feeling playful:"His crest goes up completely and his head starts bobbing up and down and sideways.Its long-standing mayor Greg Conkey is the first to admit population growth is a top priority, in which international migration plays a vital role.“Over the last five years, a large percentage of people who have moved to this city have come from non-English speaking backgrounds or were born overseas,” Mr Conkey said.30am to 4.“We really rely on migrants and refugees for this city and we will continue to rely on them as we grow.AAP His campaign has included a series of political stunts including wearing boxing gloves bearing the campaign slogan"lower taxes and better services" and knocking down a wall of boxes symbolising"smashing" the cost of living.

" Over the past decade, it’s estimated more than half of all newcomers in Wagga Wagga have arrived from overseas, helping boost its population to 65,000.( ABC Ballarat: Dominic Cansdale ) The boy's father said most calls were linked to a single out-of-hours phone number which went unanswered.But with this month's federal budget revealing Australia’s net overseas migration is set to fall into negative levels for the first time since World War II - with a loss of 72,000 people forecast for 2020-21 - it is causing concern in the regional hub.Wagga Wagga is still in need of skilled workers in fields including engineering, medicine, management and trades, but due to the impacts of COVID-19, Australia's net overseas migration is not expected to return to positive levels until 2022-23."All we could do was leave a message.READ MORE Australia's net migration intake drops to negative levels for the first time since World War II Economist Dr Yapa Bandara from Charles Sturt University’s Wagga campus said the city’s economy will suffer."COVID-19 has had a huge impact and is a huge blow towards regional cities including Wagga Wagga - and it's not for one particular year,” he said."I was a bit shocked in a big regional town like Ballarat the hospitals didn't have direct contact numbers for dentists," she said.

“It will have a long impact over a longer period of time; next year, the year after that, and another couple of years." The state government has been pouring money into the city in recent years, including a $250 million dollar injection into a Special Activation Precinct.The statement said when patients presented to the emergency department needing dental care, "it's not within our scope to provide dental services beyond initial treatment (including for pain management)".It is intended to capitalise on the Inland Rail Project and bring manufacturing, agribusiness, freight and logistics to the region.There is hope such long term investments will be able to offset the losses felt from international migration until borders open up again."The BHS Dental Clinic is funded and allocated services through the Victorian Government, however this funding does not include an after-hours dentist at this stage.Domestic migration 'on the increase' There is also the hope that the COVID-19 pandemic has spurred a different kind of migration to the area; major city dwellers looking for a tree change.

Wagga Wagga recruitment agent Rhyley Hunter said he is the busiest he has been in 12 years due to demand from workers who want to make the move there from elsewhere in Australia.The statement said BHS would explore options for extending the hours of its emergency dental services."In regards to domestic migration, that's definitely been on the increase,” he said.“We’re seeing a lot more enquiries from people in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra looking to relocate.It took three hours to find a dentist to treat "horrific" injuries to a Ballarat boy's teeth on a Saturday afternoon.I think COVID-19 has been a catalyst for that change." READ MORE Australia's cherry farms need workers and Year 12s are getting the call up In the nearby historic town of Gundagai, real estate agent Mike Kingwell said he is seeing the same thing.Dr Hall, from Dental Health Services Victoria, a government-funded agency that runs public dental services across the state, said smaller towns had "more pragmatic" arrangements but "in general, a private dentist would make themselves available after hours".

Mr Kingwell said he has witnessed an “uptick” in real estate sales in Gundagai and surrounding towns in the past six months.“I think the main reason is that some of them are working from home and it doesn't really matter where that home is, so they can come out to the country and enjoy a much better lifestyle.'Trauma needs to be seen ASAP' Dentist Jess Lim, from Oak Tree Ballarat Dental, was on her couch in her pyjamas when she got a call from the hospital concerning the boy about 7:30pm.” Topics:.

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Am sure Glady can still sneak past the border for a root Wagga Wagga is a majority WHITE community. You are PROMOTING that conditions be imposed apon a race which will lead to its inevitable destruction in whole or in part. That's called ethnic cleansing and promoting it is ILLEGAL! WhiteGenocide It won’t. Hire local and pay well. You will do just fine.

Can’t Daryl cook up a scheme to assist? Too bad Gladys broke up with Daryl. Who is gonna help Wagga like him now? International migrants? Get rid of the racist attitude from some of your locals there and maybe it’ll thrive then. And if anyone asks, yes I’ve been there and yes I’ve been a victim of it whilst working through there.

Boy's ordeal after 'horrific' golf club accident highlights gaps in emergency dental careThe parents of a boy, 9, whose teeth were accidentally smashed with a golf club, were shocked that it took three hours to access emergency dental care in a major regional city. Before reading it , I thought I bet it’s Ballarat ! 1) a bloody disgrace & Ballarat dentists should hang their head in son had dental emergency & we are laughed at & clapped out by Ballarat hospital emergency staff & waiting customers. They thought it wad a tooth ache. He h 3 exposed nerves & is regarded 2) as excruciating as nit like a broken leg yuh can elevate etc etc . You cannot move your tooth . In medical books it is described. as one of the worse pains a human can have. My son was treated very badly by Ballarat emergency deot because he was an adult & not a child.

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