By Flint Duxfield and Clint Jasper ABC

A study has found that young people are leaving the Murray-Darling Basin faster than anywhere else in Australia.

Researchers at the University of Canberra say 10 per cent of 15-24 year olds are leaving the Basin region, as opposed to a six per cent exodus in other regional areas.

Professor Helen Berry believes economic factors are the key to why young people decide to move away.

“They’re coming from areas which have very large areas of irrigated water use,” she said.
“Those areas are losing population faster than other areas.
“We’re also noticing that where there are higher levels of disadvantage, people are leaving more so than where there are not such high levels of disadvantage.”

The research, which looked at migration patterns between 2006-2011 found in some areas such as Hay up to 37 per cent of people aged 15-24 had left the region.

In towns like Renmark in the South Australian Riverland, the findings are hardly a surprise to locals.

“There’s not much hear for young people unfortunately,” said 27-year-old James Heading.

“We’ve got a plaza and that sort of thing but there’s no fun activities for young people in the Riverland any more.”

For those that are keen to stay in the region, the attraction is to the larger regional centres.

“It’s ok, I’d rather move to a bigger country town, but not the city because I don’t like the city,” said one 21-year-old resident.

Professor Helen Berry says this is a common trend amongst people from higher socioeconomic backgrounds.

“Where there’s a little less disadvantage people are still moving from where they’re living, but they’re staying within the basin,” Professor Berry said.

“Whereas those that are most disadvantaged might be wanting to leave altogether.”