Hey Townsville, here’s a question: why are the people who are yelling loudest about our city the negative, fear-mongering ones who always put forward the same misguided arguments? They want more investment, jobs and events. Yet they get behind their keyboards and yell at anyone who attempts to do such things, citing crime and water as the reason we should put our city’s growth on hold. Ask yourself – would you invest in a city if these were the only voices you heard? If you’re dwelling on the negatives without chipping in a solution, you’re adding to the problem that you’re upset about. It’s that simple.
Below are some actual comments from Townsville locals that we’ve dedicated to disproving. This is done with help from some of our city’s most positive leaders.
“You do realise there are real universities down south whose degrees mean something?”
– Anonymous, UniversityReview.com
When we spoke to Kari Arbouin, CQU’s Associate Vice-Chancellor for Townsville, she put to bed several regional university myths. One of which is the quality of education in regional areas VS the big smoke.
To ensure CQU maintain their spot in the top 3% of universities worldwide and give their students the best chance in their field, Kari says they have professional bodies accredit and regularly review all courses. Experts in the industry also view content to ensure it’s current and encourage feedback from their 35,000 students. All of this is done so they can constantly upgrade and improve.
“Another myth is getting jobs,” Kari says. “The national average of job success is 72% and we’re above that at 86%. This is higher than some of the big Group of Eight universities.”
On top of job success, students in regional areas also get the benefit of coming in frequent contact with future employers and gaining more experience.
“You’re asked to do a lot of things you possibly wouldn’t be asked to do in capital cities,” says Kari. “More importantly you develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Not only this, you do so on a higher level and much more quickly because the teams are generally smaller.”
Add in the lower cost of living, the ability to have closer relationships with support staff, teachers and students and you’ve hit the education jackpot.
“The only businesses that would survive if they started in Townsville now would be big ones like IKEA or ALDI.”
– Christopher, Facebook
When Chrissy Leontis left Sydney to start her own niche-market law firm in Townsville, she had no business connections or nearby friends and said everyone warned her against it.
“A lot of people said it couldn’t be done in Townsville. They said, ‘why would you start in a regional town? Why can’t you just do it in Sydney?’ I’ve since proven them wrong,” says Chrissy, whose firm – CLEON Legal and Mediation Services – has since been a finalist for several high profile awards for excellence in both business and law.
“I did not believe that because we’re in a smaller area I could not grow a successful business. Instead, I had the belief that I could and I went out, reverse engineered that and worked out how I could create a really great business. I connected with like-minded organisations and people, nurtured those relationships and it’s just grown from there.”
Despite hearing negative comments about opportunities in Townsville, Chrissy says she’s never found a lack of them here.
“I think if people keep playing into the negative self-talk, saying that there’s not enough jobs and not enough work, well obviously that is the reality they’re going to see,” Chrissy says. “You need to believe that there are opportunities in Townsville. Do your research before you open a business; know that there’s a market for it, plan, look at your competitors and what they are doing and see what your niche market can achieve. You can have a great business here, you just need to make sure that what you’re delivering is fantastic.”
“Don’t move to Townsville. It has no work, no infrastructure, no nothing. Great if you want to be a check out chick though. I am thinking hard about sending the wife down to Sydney to find work.”
– Peter, Facebook
Studies show that unemployment in Townsville has been trending down and workforce participation trending up. Despite this, the age old ‘Townsville is terrible for work’ line still seems to be trotted out by our locals.
If there are career opportunities in Townsville that we’re missing out on, George Milford from Milford Planning says it’s “underselling the opportunity to get ahead as young professionals” in our city. “We’re lucky because we’re small and we have a big footprint. We have a lot of interesting projects compared to South East Queensland where you might just do little sub-divisions in the western suburbs,” he says before launching into more positives.
“For us, you simply get better exposure to a broader range of projects, clients and issues. This means you develop your skills faster. I moved to Cardwell as a graduate – and whilst I was well and truly in the ‘deep end’, it sure did hasten my learning.”
So before you reach for the phone to book those Sydney flights and fight it out amongst the millions of people there, weigh up the benefits you receive from working in a regional area.
“I think there are three main benefits. One, the opportunity for exposure to work with clients that they wouldn’t necessarily have in different circumstances. This can put you years ahead of your counterparts. Two, we have a very close business network and community across a variety of professions. Then three, lifestyle. Five out of six of our full time staff live within ten minutes of the office. This means you can have a life other than work during the working week,” George says. Another huge bonus is the fact that George says the general business community “genuinely wanted to see him succeed”. This is something you simply can’t get in the big smoke.
“I can’t see any reason why people would want to come here unless they lived here.”
– The Transformation of Townsville Research Report
Locals living in Townsville often forget how good we have it – a point that is perfectly summed up by Magnetic Island’s Chair of Tourism, Norman Jenkin.
“The laidback lifestyle in Townsville is unique and you really do not get it anywhere else. The fact that you can jump on a ferry and in 20 minutes be disconnected from mainland stresses, relaxing on ‘island time’ is very special,” Norman says, adding that the bonuses don’t stop there. “For those who love staying in shape, challenging yourself mentally and physically up Castle Hill with the reward of that spectacular 360 view of Townsville or taking a more relaxed approach along the Strand is as good as it gets anywhere in the world. The events that we host in this city are also world class and will continue to grow in popularity. People from down south dream of escaping from their cold winters to enjoy what we have here.”
On top of this, Norman says they are “seeing tourism figures eclipse previous highs that were reached a decade ago”. These numbers can only continue to grow as well, with several large developments set to bring in more tourism dollars to the region.
“The positive investment and development earmarked for the city is impressive. The Townsville Stadium will further boost some of the already achieved success in reactivating the CBD. Plus, the investment that the Stadium is stimulating is very promising. For small operators on the island there is movement towards building capacity, expanding their operations and collaborative marketing. For the bigger players in the tourism industry, significant investments such as The Ville Resort and Casino redevelopment and SeaLink developing a new marine tourism facility is real step forward for the city and boost to tourism confidence in the region. This coupled with the Museum of Underwater Art project will see an exciting growth period for Townsville’s tourism future.”
Not only are we moving forward in terms of tourism, employment and business opportunities in Townsville – we’re also seeing the business sector gain their confidence back. Isn’t it time our locals did the same?