Skip To Main Content

Sections on this page

Craig Jenkins

Craig Jenkins

Deputy Director for North Coast

Get in touch

North Coast at a glance

Regional output of A$17.8 billion

Regional output of A$17.8 billion

Regional output of A$17.8 billion with 43,338 businesses
Fast growing regional population

Fast growing regional population

Fast growing regional population of 524,732
Key tourist destination

Key tourist destination

Key tourist destination with 13.7 million visitors in year ending June 2019
A significant exporter

A significant exporter

A significant exporter of manufactured products including gourmet food.

The North Coast has long been known as an exporter of high-quality food and beverage due to its strengths in agriculture, horticulture and aquaculture, contributing A$17.8 billion to the NSW economy.


The North Coast has developed a strong manufacturing base which operates across food, defence and marine applications.

Emerging creative and digital businesses have capitalised on the region's education and ICT investments to grow within a supportive and highly liveable environment.

With a pleasant climate and biologically diverse environment, the region is well endowed with productive farmland, producing export quality macadamia and pecan nuts, other horticultural products, and niche craft beers and spirits.

The region’s significant expanse of National and State parks and popular pristine beaches underpin a thriving tourism industry. As one of the fastest growing populations in NSW, the North Coast has a reputation for an enhanced quality of life, equidistant to Brisbane and Sydney.

Key infrastructure supporting the North Coast economy

Key infrastructure supporting the North Coast economy

The North Coast region is a network of cosmopolitan cities and centres linked by the Pacific Highway to Sydney and Brisbane, and coastal, hinterland and rural communities. Over 78% of households have internet access.

Six significant regional airports connect to domestic hubs for air and passenger freight, and the Port of Yamba is the region’s main commercial port. Commercial real estate in Tweed Heads is on average A$250 per square metre for office rent per annum compared to A$695 in Melbourne’s CBD.

The North Coast is well-serviced by tertiary education facilities including Southern Cross University, the University of Newcastle, Charles Sturt University and the University of New South Wales which has a Rural Clinical School in Port Macquarie. TAFE NSW has the School of Audio Engineering based in Byron Bay. Tweed Heads, Lismore, Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie cities provide major hospitals and other key services.

Key infrastructure supporting the North Coast economy

Sun rises over the pier at Jetty Beach, Coffs Harbour - image courtesy of Destination NSW

Current opportunities on the North Coast

  • Agribusiness and food

    Read More Read Less
    Workforce
    • Almost 10,000 people employed in agribusiness and food product manufacturing

    • 3% of the workforce holds tertiary agricultural or environmental studies qualifications compared to the 2% national average

    • Successful models of dairy, aquaculture and meat production co-operatives including North Coast Fresh Food and Cold Storage Co-operative, Clarence River Fishermen’s Co-operative, Norco and Northern Co-operative Meat Company.

    Infrastructure
    • Established livestock sector infrastructure, comprising over 53% of the region’s agribusiness output

    • 83% growth in freight transport using the Pacific Highway, projected between 2011 and 2031

    • Excellent established road, rail, port and airport freight networks and service suppliers facilitating easy access to domestic and international markets.
    Success
    • Agribusiness and food in the North Coast contributes A$2.5 billion to the NSW economy

    • North Coast contributes over 30% of NSW fruit and nuts by gross value

    • High quality gourmet and organic produce has increased the region’s reputation among leading Australian and international restaurateurs

    • Paddock-to-plate experience driving agrifood tourism.

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

    Read More Read Less Collapsed section, Select Read More about Agribusiness and food to expand Expanded section, Select Read Less about Agribusiness and food to shrink
  • Advanced manufacturing

    Read More Read Less
    Workforce
    • 1,691 businesses employing over 10,000 people in the manufacturing sector

    • Large regional employer for food manufacturing with a number of small and large employers

    • A$36.60 hourly manufacturing wage compared to A$42.20 national average.

    Infrastructure
    • Reliable freight transport connections by the Pacific Highway and North Coast railway line

    • Equidistant between capital cities of Sydney and Brisbane

    • Regional airports at Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour and Ballina significantly reduce travel times to markets.

    Success
    • Growing marine equipment and technology sector

    • Largest employer in NSW for log saw milling and timber dressing, and second largest for other wood product manufacturing.

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

    Read More Read Less Collapsed section, Select Read More about Advanced manufacturing to expand Expanded section, Select Read Less about Advanced manufacturing to shrink
  • Tourism

    Read More Read Less
    Workforce
    • Rapid growth in regional accommodation and food services employment

    • 16% of NSW’s accommodation sector employment

    • A$29.10 hourly wage for accommodation and food services employees compared to A$42.20 national average.

    Infrastructure
    • Pacific Highway connects the region’s many coastal towns

    • 323 accommodation establishments with nearly 10,300 rooms available

    • Popular tourist attractions of Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour and Byron Bay, 48 national parks and 12 state forests, numerous towns, villages and excellent surf and snorkelling beaches.

    Success
    • Largest tourist destination in Regional NSW, second most popular in the State after Sydney as measured by total visitors, and fourth most popular destination in Australia after Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane

    • The region received 5.9 million domestic overnight visitors, spending over A$3.6 billion in year ended June 2019

    • International visitor growth rate of 2.8% on average per annum since year ended June 2010.

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

    Read More Read Less Collapsed section, Select Read More about Tourism to expand Expanded section, Select Read Less about Tourism to shrink

North Coast success stories

Get in touch

Craig Jenkins

Deputy Director for North Coast
Office contacts
Suite 5, 17 Conway Street
PO Box 616
LISMORE NSW 2480
[ X ]

Stay up to date

Stay across all the latest developments in Regional NSW Australia. Add your name and email below and we will make sure you have the latest news.