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Anna Shaw

Anna Shaw

Deputy Director for Central West and Orana, and Far West

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Diverse economy. Enterprising people. Growing opportunities.

Strong and diverse agribusiness sector

Strong and diverse agribusiness sector

Strong and diverse agribusiness and food sector, contributing 6.3% of total NSW value added
Significant mineral deposits

Significant mineral deposits

Significant mineral deposits of coal, gold, copper and high-grade nickel, cobalt and lithium
6.4 million overnight visitors

6.4 million overnight visitors

6.4 million overnight and daytrip tourists spent A$1.9 billion in the region in 2018-19
A$14.5 billion in regional output

A$14.5 billion in regional output

A$14.5 billion in regional output, home to over 28,161 businesses

The Central West and Orana region contributes over A$14.0 billion to the NSW economy in gross value added, with 12% from mining and a further 17.6% from agribusiness.


The Central West has an established mining industry and excellent future opportunities for prospective geology. Significant growth opportunities are supported by quality infrastructure, a highly skilled local workforce and services industry and increased demand for minerals in Asian and other international markets.

The region has a strong and diverse agricultural sector. This supports a number of value-added food production and manufacturing companies from Australia and overseas. Production of fruit, gourmet food, beverages and boutique wine around Mudgee and Orange is also growing.

Orange is fast becoming the agri-finance hub of Regional NSW. Orange is home to Macquarie Bank’s Paraway Pastoral Co, the Rural Assistance Authority and the NSW Department of Primary Industries. The Australian Government’s new Regional Investment Corporation is based in Orange as well as all of the major agribusiness lending banks.

Tourism is also growing with emerging strengths in ecotourism, gastronomy and wine. Between the year ending June 2010 and the year ending June 2019, visitor numbers on average increased 5.3% annually to 6.4 million. Tourism expenditure in the region on average increased 8.7% annually over the last nine years to A$1.9 billion in the year ending June 2019.

As the aging workforce retires, the service economy in health and aged care services continues to expand, presenting investment opportunities.

Key infrastructure supporting the Central West and Orana economy

Key infrastructure supporting the Central West and Orana economy

Major service and industry centres are well connected by road and rail to Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane, Newcastle, Canberra and Port Kembla, on to international trade routes. 74% of the region’s households have internet access.

Airports in Dubbo, Parkes, Bathurst, Mudgee and Orange connect to domestic centres, while major freight hubs exist in Parkes and Dubbo. The University of Sydney, Charles Sturt University and TAFE campuses provide tertiary education and research.

An investment of A$9.3 billion in the construction of the proposed Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail corridor will improve access to markets, reduce freight costs and boost the region’s reputation as a freight hub with investment opportunities for facilities and intermodals.

Parkes is the first official Special Activation Precinct, taking advantage of location, business development opportunities and employment growth offered by the east-west rail line and the Inland Rail project, placing Parkes at the crossroads of Australia. The precinct is set to become Australia’s largest intermodal site and will create new jobs in the freight and logistics industry and optimise opportunities in the circular economy and agricultural industries. Regional suppliers will be brought closer to their customers, allowing local products to be delivered across Australia and around the world.

The Central West region has been announced as the first Renewable Energy Zone as part of the 2019 NSW Electricity Strategy. It will play a vital role in delivering affordable energy to help replace the state’s existing power stations as they retire over the coming decades. Construction of the Renewable Energy Zone is expected to being in 2022.

Dubbo will be home to the rail maintenance facility to service and maintain the new A$1.26 billion regional rail fleet. The new trains will come into service progressively, with the first trains anticipated to be delivered in the early 2020s.

Commercial real estate in Dubbo is on average A$200-$240 per square metre for office rent per annum, compared to A$695 in Melbourne’s CBD.

Key infrastructure supporting the Central West and Orana economy

Hot air ballooning in Canowindra at sunrise - image courtesy of Evolving Images; Destination NSW

Discover more about Central West and Orana's most important sectors

  • Mining and resources

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    Workforce
    • 5,000 employed.
    • Skilled workforce, 15% hold tertiary engineering and related technologies qualifications.
    Infrastructure
    • Strong mining services sector including education and training, drilling and exploration, equipment refurbishment, servicing and technical services.
    • Gold, coal and copper production sold to major markets in Japan, South Korea, India and China.
    Success
    • Mining and resources sector contributes A$1.7 billion to the state economy.
    • Contributes 16.8% of total NSW gross value added in mining and resources.
    • Excellent reputation for gold and copper mining and coal production.
    • Proposals to further develop nickel, cobalt and lithium deposits to meet anticipated future demand for critical minerals.

    For more information on Mining and Resources, please refer to the sector detail page.

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  • Agribusiness and food

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    Workforce
    • 18% of Regional NSW agribusiness and food manufacturing workers.
    Infrastructure
    • Main Western railway line to Adelaide and Sydney, road transport to Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.
    • Established agri-finance hub in Orange.
    • Special Activation Precinct in Parkes.
    Success
    • 6.3% of total NSW gross value added in agribusiness and food.
    • 6% of NSW’s total agricultural production from sheep, beef cattle and grain farming.
    • Home to global manufacturing companies such as Nestle Purina, Mars Petcare and Simplot.

    For more information on Agribusiness and Food, please refer to the sector detail page.

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  • Health and aged care

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    Workforce
    • 5% average annual growth in regional health workforce, double that of Greater Sydney since 2012.
    • 16,500 employed in the region’s health care and social assistance sector.
    • National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) rollout attracts a diverse range of skilled workers.
    Infrastructure
    • More than A$241 million has been committed to upgrades in Dubbo hospitals, with Stages 3 and 4 currently under construction.
    • A$70.7 million Mudgee hospital redevelopment will provide a major upgrade.
    • University of Sydney’s School of Rural Health established in Orange and Dubbo to deliver education and research programs.
    • The Royal Flying Doctor Service is based in Dubbo and offers a multi-million dollar flight simulator training facility.
    Success
    • Health care and social assistance sector contributed A$1.3 billion to NSW state economy, 3.7% of the total contribution in the state from health and aged care.
    • 901 new companies added to the sector between 2013 and 2017, 3.3% growth.

    For more information on Health and Aged Care, please refer to the sector detail page.

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  • Advanced manufacturing

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    Workforce
    • 6,993 people employed in manufacturing
    • 6.5% residents in the Central West and Orana region work in the Manufacturing industry
    • 930 manufacturing businesses exist in the region.
    Infrastructure
    • Freight hubs and major roads allow access to major cities around Australia
    • Priority development plan to build on existing work to improve the regional freight network
    • Special Activation Precinct at Parkes.
    Success
    • Ongoing strategies to co-locate manufacturing industries to minimise land use conflict and maximise efficiency
    • 3.8% growth in number of manufacturing businesses from 2013 to 2017.

    For more information on Manufacturing, please refer to the sector detail page.

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Central West and Orana success stories

Get in touch

Anna Shaw

Deputy Director for Central West and Orana, and Far West
Office contacts
161 Kite Street
Locked Bag 21
ORANGE NSW 2800
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