With its sparkling harbour, enticing beaches and a climate to die for, Sydney is regularly rated as one of world's top ten most liveable cities. But from Friday the state government of New South Wales will pay residents A$7,000 (£4,500) to leave.
In one of the clearest signs of official alarm at the growth rate of a city that already plays host to a fifth of Australia's population, the money will be made available to individuals or families who sell up and buy a home in the country.
The plan is also aimed at boosting moribund rural areas which suffered both economically and socially in last year's devastating drought.
"Regional NSW is a great place to live, work and raise a family – these A$7,000 grants will provide extra assistance," said the state deputy premier, Andrew Stoner.
The only catch is that the rural home must be worth less than A$600,000.
The scheme is also about making Sydney more livable. With 4.5 million residents at present, Sydney is predicted to grow by 40% over the next 30 years, putting unprecedented pressure on infrastructure and housing.
Sydney is already the most expensive Australian city to reside in. The median house price is A$670,000 (£435,000) when the average wage is A$56,000. Renting is not much better, with vacancy rates at around 1% and rents rising.