THOUSANDS of lockdown-wearing Sydneysiders are preparing to make a Steve McQueen-style “great escape” from NSW to the Gold Coast once the state’s lockdown finally ends.
Mums and dads are joining the stampede to exit the economically devastated southern capital, with Australia’s leading demographer tipping “all roads lead to the Gold Coast”.
NSW shattered records with 830 new cases of Covid on Sunday and three deaths. Victoria recorded 65 fresh instances after now spending more than 200 days in lockdown.
Queensland recorded no new cases and is lockdown free.
Real estate inquiries from Sydney have more than doubled since the state’s lockdown began in June, with agents reporting an uptick in Victorians eager to move since it returned to lockdown a fortnight ago.
Demographer Bernard Salt said over-65s and families were tiring of shutdowns and looking to the Gold Coast for a better lifestyle.
“We call these people the vespas – virus escapees who are escaping from the lockdowns and all roads lead to the Gold Coast,” he said.
“Like Steve McQueen, they’re going to be on the border making the great escape.
“For these people, the narrative of life used to be living in the eastern suburbs of Sydney and travel overseas but now they say they want a bolthole in Australia and life’s too short. Covid has brought them a moment’s of clarity.”
The Gold Coast and southeast Queensland were direct beneficiaries of Victoria’s extended 2020 lockdown, with a dramatic population shift northward.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data in June showed Victoria’s population fell by 12,700 while the number of interstate migration to Queensland increased by 30,000, or two per cent.
Star Entertainment Group is among those Sydney-based companies experiencing the population shift.