Baby boomers looking to retire to small towns should not bring their “city expectations” with them, prominent demographer Bernard Salt says.
Mr Salt detailed his concerns about the growing pressure being placed on regional councils at a local government conference in Murray Bridge, southeast of Adelaide on Thursday.
“The bottom line is that if you have spent your working life in a capital city living a metropolitan lifestyle, where you’re used to a certain standard of council services … when you then move to the coast or move to a ‘tree change’ community, then you carry those expectations,” he said.
Ultimately, he said, the “entitlement culture” had to change among retirees looking to move to a country area.
“If you choose to relocate to a quaint tree change community in the hills or a cute little lifestyle town on the coast … then you can’t really expect the standard of service from the local council that you would expect if you were living in a metropolitan area,” Mr Salt said.
“I think that conversation needs to be communicated to the imminent retirement generation.
“We need to educate the community about what is realistic and what is not realistic to expect in more remote lifestyle regions.
“There are trade-offs.”
The trend of retirees moving to “lifestyle locations” first started in the 1960s and is expected to continue over the next two decades.
Mr Salt said councils would not be able to keep up with the increasing demands of retirees used to “metropolitan standards”.
“(Baby boomers) will sea change and tree change into lifestyle towns and they’ll take big city expectations into those areas,” he said.
“That will mean greater demand on health services, education services, road infrastructure [and] of course, many councils simply don’t have the resources to deliver to those expectations.
“The problem is that the population base, or the taxation base in those communities, is often not as deep as in capital cities and therefore those expectations cannot be met.”