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Nigel McKinnon

Nigel McKinnon

Deputy Director for Illawarra-Shoalhaven

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Connected and clever

Strategically located just over one hour from Sydney Airport

Strategically located just over one hour from Sydney Airport

Strategically located just over one hour from Sydney Airport, offering a competitive geographical and infrastructure base for businesses to benefit from global and domestic markets
Stable workforce

Stable workforce

Stable workforce supported by competitive rents, wages and retention rates, an experienced supply chain and ancillary services, and a large, highly skilled, multilingual workforce
Sophisticated and well-developed innovation ecosystem

Sophisticated and well-developed innovation ecosystem

Sophisticated and well-developed innovation ecosystem centred on the University of Wollongong’s Innovation Campus
Strong industries

Strong industries

Strong industries at Shoalhaven, including two naval bases and Australia’s only naval air station, as well as established ICT, professional services and advanced manufacturing sectors

The Illawarra-Shoalhaven region contributes A$15.5 billion to NSW annually, supporting 24,900 businesses.


The Illawarra-Shoalhaven is a region transformed. Traditionally known for its world-class steel making and coal mining industries, the region’s economy is today driven by the advanced manufacturing, ICT and professional services and defence sectors.

The region’s significant defence presence is anchored by the Australian naval aviation at HMAS Albatross and the Albatross Aviation Technology Park (AATP). Global prime contractors have established themselves at the AATP to service both HMAS Albatross and the national defence sector.

The region is well connected to domestic and international markets through a high quality broadband network, road and rail connections into Sydney and other markets on Australia’s east coast, and NSW’s third largest port at Port Kembla and the Illawarra Regional Airport.

The region boasts an enviable and cosmopolitan lifestyle, just over one hour from Sydney Airport, Australia’s international gateway. House and apartment prices are 30% less than in Sydney. Residents have access to a coastal lifestyle and café culture, and quality local infrastructure means short work commutes.

Key infrastructure supporting the Illawarra-Shoalhaven economy

Key infrastructure supporting the Illawarra-Shoalhaven economy

Wollongong and Nowra are the region’s two urban centres.

Illawarra-Shoalhaven is serviced by excellent infrastructure including access to the NBN and high-speed internet connectivity, major freight corridors into Sydney and south-eastern Australia, the Shellharbour Regional Airport and the international port of Port Kembla located 10 minutes from the Wollongong CBD.

Illawarra-Shoalhaven has a supportive business environment, offering competitive rents and wages, half the staff turnover of the national average, and strong existing supply chains and ancillary service providers.

A large, experienced and multilingual workforce supports local industries. Commercial real estate in Wollongong is on average A$450 per square metre for office rent per annum compared to $695 in Melbourne’s CBD, while industrial rent is on average A$100 per square metre in Wollongong.

Innovation is a key attribute of business in the Illawarra-Shoalhaven, driven by the University of Wollongong which is ranked in the top 2% of universities worldwide and renowned for producing 1000 high-quality, job-ready ICT and 600 engineering graduates every year. Research experience covers ICT, engineering, cyber and advanced materials.

Businesses are well connected to the University of Wollongong’s Innovation Campus and the vocational education provider, TAFE NSW. These connections provide local industry with access to cutting edge research and testing facilities, and world-class graduates and post-graduates.

Key infrastructure supporting the Illawarra-Shoalhaven economy

Aerial of the scenic route over Sea Cliff Bridge, Clifton - image courtesy of Dee Kramer Photography

Sectors of opportunity

  • Professional and financial services

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    Workforce
    • Over 16,000 employed in traded finance and professional services

    • Almost 60% of the workforce is tertiary educated.

    Infrastructure
    • Broad range of affordable commercial property options

    • 7.3MW Tier 3 Data Centre

    • Connections to Sydney International markets and the Illawarra Regional Airport.

    Success
    • Professional and financial services output in the Illawarra-Shoalhaven region contributed A$2.8 billion to the NSW economy in 2018

    • University of Wollongong Innovation Campus, iAccelerate technology incubator, has the largest ICT graduate cohort in NSW

    • Home to large knowledge service organisations such as Stellar, Department of Human Services and Australian Health Management

    • An indicative 150-seat knowledge service centre operation delivers a 29% salary and real estate cost saving compared to Melbourne.

    For more information on Professional and Financial Services, please refer to the sector detail page.

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  • Advanced manufacturing

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    Workforce
    • Growing employment, with over 954 businesses in the manufacturing sector employing 9,904 people in 2017

    • A historically strong manufacturing sector which the region considers an important part of its identity, supported by a large and diverse range of skilled labour

    • One in four adults have a tertiary science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) qualification and 60% of manufacturing workers carry a trade certificate or higher

    • Reported staff turnover is 8% or lower.

    Infrastructure
    • Access to world-leading research at the University of Wollongong across advanced materials, steel, robotics and automation

    • Access to major domestic and international markets through extensive road, rail and air links and the Port Kembla international trade gateway

    • Access to heavy industrial zoned land which allows for 24/7 operations.

    Success
    • The region's manufacturing sector is characterised by advanced business models, advanced processes and advanced approaches to technology

    • Significant tertiary-level research in advanced materials, automation, robotics and steel

    • Bisalloy Steels, Manildra, BlueScope, NowChem and CSR all operate significant manufacturing operations in the Illawarra-Shoalhaven.

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

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  • Defence

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    Workforce
    • Experienced local supply chain including mechanical and electronic systems

    • 70 year history of supporting Australian naval and air power workforce requirements.

       

    Infrastructure
    • Naval and maritime cluster focused around HMAS Albatross and HMAS Creswell

    • Albatross Aviation Technology Park adjacent to HMAS Albatross airfield includes companies Sikorsky, Lockheed Martin Australia and BAE Systems.

    Success
    • The region has a long and proud history of providing innovative defence technology and services to the Australian and global defence industries

    • A growing light aeronautics and simulation training industry

    • HMAS Albatross base at Nowra is home to four Naval Air Squadrons and the Australian Navy Fleet Air Arm

    • Historic Australian Navy’s HMAS Creswell Base and Royal Australian Naval College since 1911.

    For more information on Defence and Aerospace, please refer to the sector detail page.

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Illawarra-Shoalhaven success stories

Get in touch

Nigel McKinnon

Deputy Director for Illawarra-Shoalhaven
Office contacts
Ground Level, Block E, 84 Crown Street
PO Box 892
WOLLONGONG NSW 2520
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