Working on the road

CW Staff — 25 June 2011

WOULD YOU LIKE to work while you’re on the wallaby?

The answer to that question probably depends on a number of factors – your financial situation, the time you have to travel, your reasons for travelling, your physical fitness and perhaps the skills you have to offer the workplace, to name a few.

But if you would like to earn a few dollars as you travel, it might soon be easier in Qld.

A report released in February 2011 by Qld’s former Economic Development Committee into “developing Qld’s rural and regional communities through grey nomad tourism”, has identified, among other things, the benefits of encouraging senior travellers to stay, work and play in regional areas. Not only do these retired workers bring a wealth of experience and skills to smaller communities, but there can also be positive social interaction and economic benefits for the townsfolk and travellers.

One of nineteen recommendations made by the report was that employment and volunteer programs aimed at grey nomads should be developed by local governments and communities.

IT'S A CONCEPT that could provide another satisfying reason to travel, and could allow more people to hit the road earlier than they might have otherwise. If people can rely on earning as they travelled, I’m sure the more financially challenged, would-be grey nomads would dump the drudgery of regular work for the freedom of the open road. There’s no denying the invigorating lure of different jobs, exciting challenges, new environments and fresh faces.

Of course, the report also identifies other practical factors that will attract grey nomads to regional Queensland.

For instance, there’s the need for advice on health care in remote areas, the provision of caravan, camping and motorhome facilities that travellers really want (including free camps), assistance for regional tourism organisations, an update of Tourism Queensland’s Drive Tourism Program and a revamp of marketing programs to reflect “the socialising and adventurous aspects of grey tourism”.

I think the report highlights the fact that grey nomads aren’t just old farts in caravan parks. They are active, vibrant travellers who are on the road for a variety of reasons and can contribute in practical, social and economic ways to the welfare of rural and regional areas.

The only thing that’s got me beat is why they needed an “Economic Development Committee”, made up of over-paid public servants and parliamentarians, to figure all this out. A single happy hour in the local caravan park would have achieved just as much, with twice the fun.

Seriously though, it’s a positive report with a lot of good ideas for all independent travellers, as well as the townships through which they pass. What remains to be seen is if the state and local governments and the tourism authorities will act on the recommendations.

You can browse the report online by following this link.



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