Portland pulls out all the stops

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Portland locals are puzzled.

There are hundreds of unfilled jobs awaiting families in the coastal community, around four hours west of Melbourne’s CBD and local residents can’t quite understand why they aren’t being inundated with seachangers.

Attractive pay, a median house price of around $230,000 for a 3 bedroom home, stunning beaches and a thriving CBD are just some of the reasons that mean Portland is starting to attract attention from families seeking a better lifestyle.

Rob Alexander, Director of Assets at the Glenelg Shire Council can almost see the waters of Bass Strait from his office and only moved from interstate months ago, but he’s already bought a 6-acre former winery surrounded by forest just out of town.

“I found the job in Portland and we had originally thought of renting, but then you see the value of houses locally and the environment here and we very quickly realised this was a great place to settle,” Rob says.

“It’s got that natural beauty. You’ve got the forest meets the sea; you’ve got beaches, you're relatively close to Melbourne, the Coonawarra wine region is about an hour away and the Grampians are just up the road."

“If you like the outdoors or fishing, or just surrounding yourself in a beautiful natural landscape, then it’s really hard to beat.”

With employers clamouring for new ways to attract workers to the area, the Shire has set up a new website and app, This is Portland (www.thisisportland.com.au) providing listings of some of the jobs available, as well as a glimpse of the lifestyle ready for new Portlanders.

“There are some fantastic opportunities when you move to a regional location. The competition is less than in a big city, so if you are willing to move and have a willingness to take on more responsibility, there are often chances for promotion and for expanding your skills and responsibility.

“Portland has got one of the lowest unemployment rates in Australia at the moment, with really strong manufacturing, resources, the port and huge growth in the renewable energy sector. Just at the Council alone, we offer 100 different services, so there is a huge range of roles for people across our area.

“There are huge opportunities for people with a trades background, new graduate programs for people looking for their first job and also a really strong community of young professionals. Our Young Professionals Network has about 35 members from a range of different industries and we get together and support each other.

“People in Portland are really friendly – it’s a community you can fit into really quickly and there are a lot of recreation clubs that let people get involved.

“I can jump up in the morning on our little farm and it’s 10 minutes into work, no traffic at all. I come into work and there’s a group of smiling people in here ready to do the day's work and at the end of the day, they are ready to head out and enjoy the surroundings we’ve got here.

“It’s a magnificent part of the world.”

For more information about life in Portland visit www.thisisportland.com.au