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Anna Shaw

Anna Shaw

Deputy Director for Central West and Orana, and Far West

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Resourceful and rewarding with a history of success

Historical centre of Australian mining

Historical centre of Australian mining

Historical centre of Australian mining, rich in zinc, lead, silver, cobalt and mineral sands
Diversifying agricultural sector

Diversifying agricultural sector

Diversifying agricultural sector supporting value-added food manufacturing
Growing tourism opportunities

Growing tourism opportunities

Growing tourism opportunities including indigenous tourism
Strategically located and connected

Strategically located and connected

Excellent transport connectivity by air, road and rail to NSW, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and international markets

The Far West contributes over A$2 billion to the NSW economy in gross value added, 17% from agribusiness and food, 22% from construction and infrastructure and 19% from mining and resources. The Far West has a workforce of over 17,405.


With over 30% of NSW territory, the Far West is the largest NSW region geographically. Irrigated farming is diversifying agribusiness and food manufacturing, supported by key water security projects. The region is strategically placed at the crossroads of Australia’s largest state economies of NSW, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia.

While mining and agribusiness are the largest contributors to regional economic output, renewable energy, particularly solar and wind, offers significant potential. Visitor numbers have increased on average 5.7% annually since year ended June 2019, with expenditure increasing on average 7.1% annually in the same period to A$357 million in year ending June 2019. Tourism growth is supported by the region’s natural heritage, national parks and rich Aboriginal culture and artefacts. The Far West has the highest Aboriginal population in NSW giving the region a unique cultural and historical identity.

Key local attributes

Key local attributes

Situated in Australia’s outback, Broken Hill is the largest centre with 18,000 residents followed by Cobar, Wentworth and Bourke. Over 50% of households in the region have broadband internet coverage.

The Far West enjoys access to the transcontinental railway connecting to ports in Adelaide and markets across South Australia, while airports in Broken Hill and Cobar connect to Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne and Mildura for airfreight and tourism. Upgrades to the Lightning Ridge Airport near Queensland will support increased tourism.

The Mitchell, Sturt, Barrier and Silver City highways to Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra provide port and airport access to domestic and export markets. Improvements in road and rail infrastructure are increasing supply chain connectivity to export markets.

Living Desert Sculptures, Broken Hill - image courtesy of Broken Hill City Council

Key local attributes

Living Desert Sculptures, Broken Hill - image courtesy of Broken Hill City Council

Key opportunities in the Far West

  • Agribusiness and food

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    Workforce
    • 2,631 employees, 15% of the region’s workforce

    • 4% tertiary qualified in agricultural or environmental studies, double national average.

    Infrastructure
    • Optimal climatic conditions for organic and irrigated production and early harvest of produce

    • Rapid access to large Eastern Seaboard markets, processing and freight hub at Broken Hill

    • Available and affordable land.

    Success
    • 19% of NSW’s total cotton production by value at A$305 million (includes both Far West and Orana regions)

    • 5% of NSW’s total agricultural production by value at A$1.3 billion

    • Diversified production and exports from irrigation to citrus, stone fruits, table grapes, tree nuts and vegetables.

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

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  • Renewable energy

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    Workforce
    • Growth in energy generation added 700 new regional jobs in the last 3 years.

    Infrastructure
    • High average global solar exposure and optimal wind conditions for large-scale solar and wind energy generation

    • Low population densities, abundant open space, available and affordable land

    • Established network of energy transmission infrastructure for both solar and wind.

    Success
    • A$500 million government Climate Change Fund available for the next five years

    • Home to two large-scale solar projects in Nyngan and Broken Hill, combined delivering 155 megawatts and able to power 50,000 homes

    • NSW Government 2050 Net Zero Emissions Target.

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

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  • Tourism

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    Workforce
    • 239 businesses employ 1,507 people in the region

    • Average hourly wage of A$29.10

    • 8.6% of Far West total employment.

    Infrastructure
    • Established air, rail and road infrastructure to Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Darwin, Dubbo, Alice Springs, Mildura and beyond

    • 32 accommodation establishments in outback NSW

    • Historic opal mining towns of White Cliffs and Lightning Ridge

    • Mungo, Culgoa, Sturt and Gundabooka National Parks.

    Success
    • Authentic ‘outback’ experience, historic mining tourism, iconic national parks like Mungo National Park, and unique Aboriginal tourism heritage and experiences

    • 7.1% annual increase in visitor spend in the region since year ended June 2010 to A$357.5 million in year ended June 2019

    • 5.7% average annual growth in visitors and 6.3% average annual growth in nights stayed from year ended June 2010 to year end June 2019.

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

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  • Mining and resources

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    Workforce
    • Centre of mining activity in Australia and the birthplace of BHP

    • 1,575 employees in mining and resources, accounting for 9% of regional workforce

    • Skilled local workforce, 15.4% holding tertiary engineering and related technologies qualifications.

    Infrastructure
    • World-class heavy mineral sand mines in production and several projects under development

    • Strategic location bordering NSW, Victoria, Queensland and Southern Australia

    • Mining, engineering and technology services enhance the sector’s global competitiveness.

    Success
    • 5% of NSW’s total mining sector by value at A$511 million

    • Rich in diverse mineral resources including zinc, lead, silver, cobalt and mineral sands

    • Significant commercial interest in its production of rutile, ilmenite, leucoxene and zircon.

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

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Far West 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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