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Anna Shaw

Anna Shaw

Deputy Director for Central West and Orana, and Far West

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Central West and Orana at a glance

Strong and diverse agribusiness sector

Strong and diverse agribusiness sector

Strong and diverse agribusiness sector, contributing 14% of total NSW agricultural production
Significant mineral deposits

Significant mineral deposits

Significant mineral deposits of coal, gold, copper and high-grade nickel, cobalt and lithium
5.5 million tourists spent A$1.3 billion

5.5 million tourists spent A$1.3 billion

5.5 million tourists spent A$1.3 billion in the region in 2016-17
A$14.5 billion in regional output

A$14.5 billion in regional output

A$14.5 billion in regional output, home to over 27,000 businesses

The Central West and Orana contributes over A$14.5 billion to the NSW economy in gross value added, with 25% from mining and a further 14% from agribusiness.


The Central West has an established mining industry and excellent future opportunities due to prospective geology.  Supported by quality infrastructure, a highly skilled local workforce and services industry, plus increased demand for minerals in Asian and international markets, there are significant growth opportunities.

The region has a strong and diverse agricultural sector, supporting value-added food production and manufacturing that has attracted international companies.  Production of fruit 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 will also be based in Orange. All of the major agribusiness lending banks are located in Orange.

Tourism and the visitor economy is also growing with emerging strengths in ecotourism, gastronomy and wine. Between 2009-10 and 2016-17, visitor numbers increased 4.6% annually to 5.5 million with expenditure increasing 5.7% annually over the last seven years to A$1.3 billion in the year to June 2017 (refer Destination NSW). As the ageing workforce retires, the service economy in health and aged care services continues to expand, presenting investment opportunities.

Header image credit: Destination NSW

Key local attributes

Key local attributes

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. 58% of the region’s households are connected to the National Broadband Network (NBN).

Airports in Dubbo 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.

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.

Commercial real estate in Dubbo is on average A$200-$240 per square metre for office rent per annum, compared to A$675 in Melbourne's CBD. (LJ Hooker Commercial, 2017).

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

Key local attributes

Sectors of opportunity

  • Mining and resources

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    Workforce
    • 5,200 employed, nearly 20% of NSW’s mining sector.

    • 48% of State employment in metal ore mining and 13% in exploration, over 25% growth since 2014.

    • Skilled workforce, 16% 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
    • Contributes 40% of total NSW mining gross value added.

    • 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 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.

    • 8% of Australia’s total workforce in sheep, beef cattle and grain farming.

    • Diverse strengths across wheat and hay, wool and other vegetables.

    Infrastructure
    • Main Western railway line to Adelaide and Sydney, road transport to Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.

    • Over 6.4 million hectares of grazing modified pastures.

    • Established agri-finance hub in Orange.

    Success
    • 6% of Australia’s value from sheep, beef cattle and grain farming.

    • Second largest vegetable growing region in NSW.

    • 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 attracting a diverse range of skilled workers.

    Infrastructure
    • Three major hospitals in the region at Dubbo, Bathurst and Orange.

    • Over A$300 million upgrades for Dubbo Base and Mudgee hospitals.

    • University of Sydney’s School of Rural Health established in Orange to deliver education and research programmes.

    Success
    • Health care and social assistance sector contributed 10% to Regional NSW gross value added.

    • 947 new companies added to the sector between 2011 and 2015, 12% growth.

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

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  • Tourism

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    Workforce
    • Rapid growth of 4.9% in regional accommodation and food services employment compared to Sydney’s 1.6%.

    • 5% of NSW accommodation sector employment, growing consistently at 1.4% since 2007.

    • A$27.50 hourly wage for accommodation and food services employees compared to A$39.80 national average.

    Infrastructure
    • Air and road infrastructure for easy exploration past the popular Blue Mountains.

    • 132 accommodation establishments with over 4,000 rooms available.

    • Major tourism attractions of Jenolan Caves, Bathurst's Mt Panorama racing circuit and Dubbo's Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

    Success
    • Growing ecotourism and gastronomy attractions, including wineries in Orange, Mudgee and Cowra.

    • Over 5 million visitors, 6.8 million nights, spending A$1.3 billion in 2016-17.

    • 4.6% annual growth in visitors and 5.7% annual growth in expenditure in the seven years to 2016-17.

    • Over 226,000 visitors to Dubbo's Taronga Western Plains Zoo and 200,000 to the Bathurst 1000 Motor Race each year.

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

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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