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Rural towns should have more to offer.

I met some of our local paramedics last week. There is nothing appealing to me about the life of an Ambo. From rubbish hours, worse pay and being vomited on there isn’t much to commend it except saving lives. Young Sarah however, made mopping out the back of an ambulance seem like the most glamorous job on the planet. I avoided imagining her saving me with the kiss of life because quite frankly, if my life needs saving then I don’t care who does it. Sarah, or Frank the hairy truck driver, I’m not fussed.

But it occurred tom me that there is a lack of attractive girls in town. The Beach Boys won’t be comparing our lasses to California Girls any time soon.

Everybody knows the ratio of guys to girls increases the further inland you travel. The Farmer Wants a Wife is into season 9 and it’s easy to see why. The girls who want more from life than baking lamingtons for the CWA and raising children have legged it for the city, university and some night life. Which doesn’t leave the lads much to work with. The ones who can avoid inheriting the farm and a life of hard labour in near solitary confinement quickly follow in the girl’s footsteps. The ones who are left, those who haven’t been fortunate enough to have a private school education or blessed with good looks must make do as best they can.

There are plenty of studies to suggest that being attractive increases your chances of being successful in life. And while that won’t sit well with the “beauty is only skin deep” crowd, how many guys have offered to buy a girl a drink in a bar based on the premise that she might have a lovely personality?  The young ones leaving for the city aren’t just ambitious, educated and attractive, they are also the most likely to get on in life. Country towns aren’t dying for lack of people, but a lack of quality people.

The depopulation of country towns has long been a problem with any number of solutions proposed over the years. The need for jobs, sustainable industry, infrastructure and further education in rural areas to lure people back from the cities is undisputed.  The idea that we need to get young people back into country towns is understood but too broad a concept to implement.

The answer is girls.  Any town that actively pursues an agenda of creating work for, and living standards acceptable to, young professional women will prosper. Will Sarah still be here in five years’ time? Somehow, I doubt it. Which will be a great shame because she is exactly the sort of new blood the town needs.

I could be wrong of course. She might bump into Gary, the hunky new fireman at the town station, fall in love, get married and have two gorgeous children. Which will be great until they send them to private school…

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