During his 44 years in the real estate industry, Garry Nash says it's gratifying to have witnessed the transformation of the region. He has seen the Rural City of Wangaratta re-establish itself from a mill town and tobacco-growing region to diversify into other fields.
"In terms of the rural community, the tobacco growers have reinvented themselves and given us back a lot more … their high skill at growing quality and unique varieties of wine and the tourism," Mr Nash said. "That professionalism and development has been very special."
He said conveying the message to city-dwellers that the North East had so much to offer as a region was key and he urged government at all levels - federal, state and local governments - to work on the idea of assistance for people to relocate.
Highlights of development in Wangaratta and what it had to offer anyone wishing to relocate included boosts to sporting facilities, medical services, education and emergency services job opportunities. Clean air, quality water, open space, access to the Hume Freeway and an improving rail link were also attractive to those considering a move there.
"Local government need to have the courage to be progressive and step forward to keep our district as one the state’s best regional cities in which to live and work," Mr Nash said.
The facilities meant an enjoyable lifestyle, services for families and for those heading into retirement. "When you think about it, we have so much to offer in this region."