750,000 reasons to move
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THE State Government last year announced it would lure residents from cities to regional centres such as Lismore by offering them $7000.
But people were slow to get on board and the government has ramped things up with a $750,000 advertising campaign via city billboards and the internet.
"The campaign is about telling Sydneysiders there's a lot more to life than just sitting in a car," a NSW Department of Trade and Investment spokesman said.
"We're also saying mortgage stress people are feeling in the city isn't as bad in regional parts of the state."
The new campaign describes Lismore as a town with historic architecture, cafe culture and abundant natural beauty.
Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell said an influx of city-dwellers "won't happen overnight".
"It takes something like three years between the very first thought of someone wanting to move to when they actually do," she said.
"People research by going there on holidays first and then make their decision over a couple of years. People are not just going to take a few thousand dollars in quick cash. They need to know they've got the security of a job, facilities like transport and education and social opportunities."
Cr Dowell is herself a tree-changer who moved to Lismore from Victoria.
She said Lismore had all the major facilities people want except adequate public transport.
Tropicana fruit shop owner Alex Coronakes's family migrated to Lismore from Greece 80 years ago.
He said people flocked to Lismore because it was the economic and cultural centre of the Northern Rivers.
"There would have been five or six Greek cafes in Lismore," he said.
"You've got to have something that's really good that will draw people to Lismore. "