Regional and rural Australia goes from strength to strength



Businesses in regional and rural Australia have prospered in the past year and are well placed to consolidate their gains in the year ahead, NAB’s second annual Horizons report shows.

NAB Executive for Regional and Agribusiness, Khan Horne, said the report reflects a recovery from a bust-boom cycle of drought years followed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While nobody can deny the cost-of-living pressures across all parts of Australia, we are seeing a new baseline set for sustainable and resilient growth in regional and rural Australia,” said Mr Horne.

“Our customer insights show strong business sentiment in both regional and rural locations, reflecting optimism for the future and confidence to tackle emerging challenges.

“The call of the country has cemented itself in Australia, with internal migration from capital cities to the regions continuing at 30% above pre-pandemic rates.

“This has come with massive growth in demand for infrastructure and is reflected in an uptick in demand for credit and corresponding investment into infrastructure projects. The Community Services and Property Services segments have seen a 24.8% and 10.2% increase in credit demand respectively.”

The NAB Regional and Agribusiness Horizons Report shows in 2022:

  • Demand for credit was up 6.7%. Australian regional businesses are focused on long-term growth and short-term opportunities and are investing at a higher rate than the rest of the economy.
  • Commodity prices may have come off their superheated tops, but a good season in 2022 and another projected for 2023 saw agricultural lending up 14.6% for the 12 months from March 2022 to March 2023, compared to 10.7% for all businesses.
  • Demand for equipment finance was up 47% on pre-pandemic levels, reflecting strong customer appetite for new and used equipment.
  • Deposit volumes for regional businesses grew by 3% and agricultural deposit volumes grew by 8.1% – Farm Management Deposits (FMDs) were up 35%.
  • Farmland values are set to stabilise in the year ahead after sustained historic levels of growth. Transactions in the $15 million to $25 million range are likely to be most common, with large-scale family owner-operators again the most active buyers.

The same research also shows labour shortages are still top of mind for regional and agribusiness customers.

“Our bankers report that availability of labour is the top concern for regional employers, with wage costs not far behind. Despite the growth in regional populations, the skilled and unskilled farm labour markets remain tight,” Mr Horne said.

NAB’s Regional and Agribusiness Horizons Report released today provides a detailed exploration of business conditions in regional and rural Australia and what’s driving them.

To read the full report, click here.



Media Enquiries

For all media enquiries, please contact the NAB Media Line on 03 7035 5015

Related Articles

  • Economy

Not an easy needle to thread: NAB CEO on interest rates and the economy

NAB CEO Andrew Irvine reflects on Australia’s resilient economy and how this is impacting inflation and interest rates.

  • 10.05.2024
  • Time to read 2 min read
  • Media Release

Big savings plans for tax cut cash

Australians are planning to save – rather than splurge – extra money from their stage 3 tax cut

  • 10.05.2024
  • Time to read 2 min read
  • Climate

NAB milestone shows appetite remains strong for renewable energy projects

NAB’s renewable energy lending book shows continued growth for global renewable projects as the bank completes its 200th renewable energy transaction with Squadron Energy.

  • 27.03.2024
  • Time to read 2 min read

Quick links

National Australia Bank — NAB

Sometimes When The Unexpected Happens, We Realise What We Truly Value. Whether A Home, Farm, Business Or Your Passion, NAB Is Here To Support You.

Business Research and Insights

For more business news and analysis, visit NAB’s Business Research and Insights.