With Australian house prices soaring across the country, one Outback town in south-central Queensland may just have the answer for your home-ownership woes.
The town of Quilpie, sitting about 1000kms west of Brisbane, has a population of just 800 people, with a butcher, a bakery, two supermarkets, a couple of pubs, newsagents and hairdressers. It’s known as “The End of The Line” due to the fact that the railway line runs out in the town.
It’s the centre of the Quilpie Shire and is famous for its opal mining and dinosaur bone discoveries. There’s also tonnes of local wildlife, local bush walks and hikes.
The town, while lovely, is having a hard time attracting fresh faces and new talent to the region and, with an aging population, is looking to lure in some younger buyers who can’t get a foot on the property ladder elsewhere.
So, Quilpie Shire Council has taken the unusual decision to pay people to move to the town. The council will give you $12,500 to purchase a block of land, the going rate for the cheapest lots in Quilpie, essentially giving you your own slice of Quilpie.
However there is always a catch with these deals, not unlike the Italian towns offering houses for €1. In order to get the grant, Quilpie Shire Council require you to build a property on the land and live in it for six months.
The property needs only to be valued at less than $750,000 and, with the price of new builds these days, it’s a serious bargain.
Quilpie Shire Council CEO Justin Hancock said you won’t find a better deal anywhere else in the country.
“If you’re looking to retire and need an affordable home base for travel, or you’re a young person starting out in your career and getting a foot in the property ladder, you would be hard pressed to find a better deal anywhere in Australia,” he said.
“Depending on the cost of the land chosen, it can equate to us essentially giving land away.”
Selling the dream, Hancock mentioned that the town’s labour shortage totals 10 job vacancies, including nurses, teachers, bar staff, mechanics and more.
According to Traveller, the Quiplie region has some interesting local attractions, including “excellent” fishing holes where yellowbelly and yabbies are abundant. While you might struggle to organise an opal fossicking tour, it can be arranged if you speak to Troy at the Caravan Park.
Quilpie Shire is also home to Toompine, a former mining town 77kms to the south of Quilpie. Toompine is famous for its “pub without a town,” the Toompine Hotel, which has recently undergone renovations and now features beer on tap.
As COVID has prompted a lifestyle shift away from the office, something that looks set to continue as the world slowly returns to normal, going regional has become a bit of a trend and making the jump to a town like Quilpie might not be as out there as you’d expect.
“There’s also the option to come to town to establish a business with incredibly affordable opportunities in the town industrial area with internet connectivity on-par with city regions,” Hancock said.
“It’s a great lifestyle and small town vibe, there’s no crime and everyone is pretty laid back. And Covid really hasn’t touched Western Queensland.”