Greg Barila

Journalist. Editor. Social Media specialist.

How Victorians have found a fine way to boost income

The Victorian Government knows drivers from over the border aren’t privy to Melbourne’s peculiar road rules. Source: News Corp Australia

THEY say a week is a long time in politics. So given the State Election was a OVER A MONTH ago, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask — do you remember Steven Marshall?
C’mon, you know. You may have seen him down at your local Wok-in-a-Box.
The guy who got the most votes at the election but isn’t Premier; the bloke who told you to vote for the other team. Right, remember?
Well, all those weeks ago, when he wanted your vote, Steven Marshall did much to shine a light on SA’s so called brain-drain. A key plank in his policy platform, it was.
The term brain-drain sounds like what happens when you waste a weekend watchingGame of Thrones.
But it turns out what he was talking about was more like those stories they use to pad out the end of TV news bulletins, about the annual migration of Christmas Island’s famous crabs.
SA’s young people were packing their bags and getting the hell out of dodge.
I could have sworn I’ve seen at least three young people in SA in the past dozen years, but I must have been mistaken. They were probably just Baby Boomers who’ve aged particularly well.
“After 12 years of Labor, South Australian young people are leaving our state in droves,” Marshall said, bearing the bad news.
“Since Labor has been in government, we have lost more than 34,000 net migrants interstate”.
And net migrants weren’t people who’d switched from internet Explorer to Chrome. They were our best and brightest!
The government can thank me later, but on a recent trip across the border I found out where at least some of our young people have been going. Are you sitting down? They’ve been going … TO MELBOURNE!
And unlike Steven Marshall, Victoria was happy about it.
There they were in the Melbourne papers. Two bright and sassy young women, one telling how she’d managed to escape across the border from Sydney to enjoy the sights and delights of the coffee capital, the other telling how she was from Melbourne, which was awesome, so, you know why leave? Yadda yadda yadda.
In fact the Victorian government is running a clever interstate migrant retention strategy.
And I blew the lid on it while I was driving to Coburg.
How? By pulling up next to a tram in a lane that was shaded pink and copping a $297 fine for doing it.
The government knows drivers from over the border aren’t privy to Melbourne’s peculiar road rules.
And by fixing the fine at such an exorbitant rate, it is counting on the fact one in every 10 rivers will be made bankrupt by their indiscretion and have no choice but to live out their days in Melbourne.
Bureaucratic flypaper.
That’s why I’m proposing our government adopt a similar scheme, to attract young people back across the border.
Think about it. We could lure Melburnians to Adelaide for footy at the Oval, then slug them $500 for a series of strange and unusual offences only South Australians would know about.
We’ve already made a great start with the bus lanes.
We could also issue infringements to anyone who uses the word “grouse” when they mean “heaps good”, “pule” instead of “pool”, or gets caught bragging about the Grand Prix.
It possibly won’t add too many numbers to our net migration. But it would be a lot of fun.
This column was first published in The City magazine and on