Great South Coast to spend $280,000 luring Melburnians west

FAMILIES being priced out of Melbourne’s tough real estate market will be targeted in the south-west’s latest campaign to bring more people to the region. 

Regional lobby group Great South Coast (GSC) will spend $280,000 this year building a website and placing billboards around Melbourne’s public transport promoting the south-west as a great place to live. 

An online advertising blitz will also coincide with the holidays in a bid to get city dwellers to consider a move. 

The campaign has sprung up from an initial $130,000 pledge by Telstra, made following the 2012 Warrnambool Telephone Exchange outage. 

GSC chief executive Karen Foster said some of the cash was spent on a “buy local” campaign but the group decided to “hold fire and package it up as a live, work, invest campaign to target Melburnians”. 

The state government will contribute $140,000 towards the campaign. 

The marketing effort would try to address some of the barriers and views held about the country, Ms Foster said. 

“This is going to be a ‘because’ campaign. We’ve got statements that will say ‘because you can go surfing before work’ or ‘because you can get a good coffee’.” 

The campaign will also take advantage of skyrocketing house prices in the city. 

GSC project spokesman Hugh Koch told The Standard the Great South Coast website — which will go live next month — will demonstrate side-by-side how homes in the south-west are a fraction of the cost of a “shoe box on Bridge Road in Richmond”.

Figures from the Real Estate Institute of Victoria show the median house price in Melbourne rose seven per cent to $643,000 in January. 

Median house prices in Warrnambool hover around $320,000 and even less in Portland at about $235,000. 

The website will also include a job board for the region. 

“It’s going to be all the things people are looking for,” Mr Koch said. 

Marketers will have the challenging task of trying to specifically sell places such as Camperdown, Warrnambool, Portland, Hamilton and even Edenhope under the same banner.

“It’s about how we use the Great South Coast as a brand to encompass the whole area,” he said. 

The website will go live in time for the Regional Living Expo at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre next month. 

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