Looking for a tree change? Cash in on $10,000

Residents of Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong planning a tree or sea change are eligible for cash incentives of up to $10,000 through changes to the NSW government's Regional Relocation Grant Scheme, which take effect today.

Amendments to the scheme include extending the eligibility criteria to include metropolitan "long-term renters".

That is, people with two consecutive years of rental history in any of those three cities.

Previously, the grant was only payable after people had sold their city home and bought another in rural and regional NSW.

A separate new incentive of $10,000 for employees that hold a skilled job for a minimum of two years also comes into effect today, to encourage more people to relocate from metropolitan areas to regional NSW for employment.

Both grants are subject to meeting specific eligibility criteria, including a minimum distance requirement of 100 kilometres for the relocation.

Applicants can only apply for one of the grants, not both.

The scheme was last year labelled "a dud" by the NSW opposition due to the poor take-up rate.

It was also revealed two Wollongong families that moved less than two kilometres - from Windang to Lake Illawarra and from Haywards Bay to Albion Park Rail - received the grant.

Concerns were also raised within Wollongong City boundaries that the relocation scheme would do little for Wollongong and its residents.

Kiama MP Gareth Ward said the changes to the scheme were a huge improvement.

"There is no doubt that these incentives will make a significant difference to the cost of relocating to a regional area, particularly for recent graduates and young families," Mr Ward said.

"With these changes there are many more renting families who will now be able to make the most of the relocation grants."

Mr Ward said he was encouraging businesses and councils to use the new incentives as part of any metropolitan recruitment and promotion programs this year.

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