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Darren Keegan

Darren Keegan

Acting Director for New England and North West

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Future-focused. Outward-looking. Connected to the world.

An agricultural powerhouse

An agricultural powerhouse

An agricultural powerhouse producing a fifth of NSW’s gross value of crops responding to growing demand in Asian markets
Food processing region

Food processing region

Major multinational food processing region for beef, lamb, poultry, and specialty food and wine – including Teys Cargill, Thomas Foods, Baiada and Bindaree Beef.
Expanding industries

Expanding industries

Expanding coal, horticulture, mining operations and renewable energy sectors

New England and North West contributes over A$8.4 billion to the NSW economy and is a significant agricultural producer and processor.


The region is recognised as a premier agribusiness and food production location, globally connected to international markets. Grains and pulses, beef, citrus, cotton, lamb, nuts, vegetables, poultry and specialty food products are sold to domestic and international customers.

Underpinning these industries is an extensive services sector in agribusiness, education, health, technology, and transport and logistics provided by the University of New England, University of Sydney, NSW Department of Primary Industries, TAFE Digital, CSIRO, Smart Region Incubator, breeding and genetics research organisations, and Co-operative Research Centres.

The region’s agribusiness, horticulture, mining and renewable energy sectors have been expanding because of the productive climate, rich soils, and the availability of coal, solar and wind resources.

The construction of the Inland Rail will further support growth in the region. The Inland Rail will provide the New England and North West region’s most productive agricultural commodity regions with increased transport competitiveness. This creates new opportunities for investment in export-focussed, value-added manufacturing and intensive agriculture.

Key infrastructure supporting New England and North West

Key infrastructure supporting New England and North West

The region is strategically located halfway between Sydney and Brisbane on key road and rail transport routes.

The region is globally connected to capital cities and ports through air, broadband, rail and road infrastructure. Significant volumes of agricultural commodities are moved annually.

Infrastructure investment like the A$9.3 billion Inland Rail project, investments in Armidale and Tamworth Airports, and upgrades to the New England and Newell Highways will further increase connectivity and freight productivity.

Commercial real estate in Tamworth is on average A$195 per square metre for office rent per annum compared to A$695 in Melbourne’s CBD, while industrial rent is on average A$90 per square metre in Tamworth.

A Moree Special Activation Precinct will be investigated to create a thriving business hub that will take advantage of its location in the middle of the most productive grain region in Australia, leveraging the Inland Rail route and Newell Highway. The Precinct would create a new business hub that specialises in agribusiness, logistics and food processing industries.

Key infrastructure supporting New England and North West

Morning sun rising over the local post office on Peel St, Tamworth - image courtesy of Destination NSW

Key opportunities in New England and North West

  • Agribusiness and food

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    Workforce
    • 11,292 employed in agribusiness and food manufacturing sectors

    • Dedicated education, research and development facilities at the University of New England and New England Institute of TAFE

    • 6% hold tertiary agricultural or environmental studies qualifications compared to 2% nationally.

    Infrastructure
    • Centre for livestock production and research including international livestock genetics and animal health at the University of New England

    • Availability of fertile cropping and grazing land facilitating high-protein grain production and premium quality meat

    • Extensive upgrades to transport networks, intermodal terminals, transport and logistics capability.

    Success
    • Powerhouse of Australian cotton production and traditional home of Australian cotton production

    • University of New England’s Smart Region Incubator of research, development, entrepreneurial and commercial activity based in Armidale

    • Agribusiness and food output in New England and the North West accounts for 4.9% of the NSW total

    • Specialist grain products for bread wheat and durum wheat for pasta production

    • Largest beef cattle production area in NSW.

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

    Infrastructure
    • University of New England's research into second and third generation biofuels

    • High average global solar exposure providing an ideal environment for large-scale solar systems

    • Established energy infrastructure.

    Success
    • 71 new businesses added in electricity services between 2011 and 2017

    • Licences granted to explore geothermal energy in Gunnedah Basins

    • Sapphire Wind Farm is NSW’s largest wind farm with 75 turbines able to power 115,000 homes.

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

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  • Freight, logistics and distribution

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    Workforce
    • 4,000 employed in transport, postal and warehousing services in the region

    • A$38.70 hourly industry average wage compared to A$42.40 national average.

    Infrastructure
    • New England Highway upgrade complementing existing road, rail and air connections linking to major Australian markets and export ports

    • A$9.3 billion Inland Rail construction offers North West towns new and expanded rail freight intermodal options

    • Excellent climatic and airspace conditions for airport and aviation sector expansion

    • Moree Special Activation Precinct investigations.
    Success
    • AviSkills Aviation Engineering Training at Tamworth Airport services some of Australia’s largest civilian and defence organisations
    • Additional private pilot training colleges considering expansion and establishment of operations at Tamworth Airport.

    For more information on Freight, Logistics and Distribution, please refer to the sector detail page.

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New England and North West Success stories

Get in touch

Darren Keegan

Acting Director for New England and North West
Office contacts
131a Marius St
PO Box 865
TAMWORTH NSW 2340
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