A blue removals truck on suburban street.

Why south-east Queensland removalists are in such high demand

A shortage of labor is affecting almost every industry in Australia, but for removalists the problem is just one of many factors making everyday business more difficult.

Grace Removals group ecommerce and marketing manager Andrew Wilson said COVID, the sheer number of people moving around the country — and more recently, the world — as well as fuel prices and an ageing workforce were all putting pressure on removalists, and there was still months before the peak summer season began.

In particular, Queensland recorded the biggest population growth, with Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data to September 2021 showing it had a 1.1 per cent increase in residents.

Victoria recorded the biggest exodus with a negative growth rate of -0.5 per cent.

The ABS said net interstate migration was the major contributor to population change in Queensland and the Northern Territory.

Overall, Australia’s quarterly population growth was 12,100 people (0.05 per cent) with annual growth even smaller at 0.3 per cent.

Many Australians are swapping the cold of cities like Melbourne and Sydney for warmer climes.(AAP: David Crosling/File photo)

Mr Wilson said the figures backed up his observations.

And the other thing was the well-spoken-about move to the regions and we are absolutely seeing regional centers pick up from the Central Coast of NSW, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Hervey Bay.

“Northern NSW, the south coast of NSW, Bendigo, Wangaratta and Wodonga are doing really well too.

“Tassie again is a bit of a beneficiary, with a lot of movement there.”

Steps lead down to Mooloolaba beach on Queensland's Sunshine Coast on November 23, 2017.
Queensland’s Sunshine Coast is popular for people wanting a lifestyle change.(ABC Sunshine Coast: Jacqui Street)

Western Australia’s open borders are also attracting some migration, and workers on sponsored visas are trickling back into the country from overseas.

Mr Wilson said there was a gradual return to Queensland of Australians who had been stuck overseas.

It pays to book ahead

James Morell operates Brisbane company Muval and said he too had noticed some movement back to states such as Victoria, but there were still plenty of people making tree-change and sea-change moves in Queensland.

His Muval Index reports on how, when, where and why Australians are moving, and this year a team of statisticians from the University of Queensland is helping to quantify the information in an annual report due out in the coming weeks.

For those wanting to book a removalist, Mr Morell advised booking early, particularly ahead of the peak season.

“Availability starts to run out particularly in November and early December across the entire industry,” he said.

Worker search hampered by border closures

Grace Removals has at least 100 vacant positions in its 30 branches around Australia, according to Mr Wilson.

“It’s a problem that has been brewing for some time and the low unemployment rate is certainly exacerbating the issue,” he said.

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