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Megan Cleary

Megan Cleary

Deputy Director for the South East and Tablelands

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Inventive. Sustainable, Pristine.

Renewable energy hub

Renewable energy hub

Renewable energy hub, home to the world’s largest bioreactor landfill project
Growing tourism

Growing tourism

Growing tourism, drawn to the famous Snowy Mountains ski fields, hiking, whale watching, food and wine attractions, with increasing cruise ship visits through the Port of Eden
Well connected to international markets

Well connected to international markets

Well connected to international markets with close proximity to Canberra International Airport and the Port of Eden
Diverse agribusiness and aquaculture

Diverse agribusiness and aquaculture

Diverse agriculture and aquaculture producing 38% of NSW cherries and 25% of NSW oysters

The South East and Tablelands region contributes A$10.1 billion to the NSW economy and is home to over 25,723 businesses.


A significant producer of renewable energy, agricultural, manufactured food and aquaculture products, and a growing tourism destination.

The South East and Tablelands’ proximity to the capital city of Canberra drives a significant number of services and knowledge-intensive business services. It also provides access to growing Asian markets through Canberra's international airport.

Tourism is a highly prominent sector of the regional economy, contributing A$3.4 billion from domestic overnight visitor expenditure and A$4.7 billion total tourism expenditure in year ending June 2019 across the Snowy Mountains, Capital Country and South Coast. 3.9% average annual growth in domestic and international visitors since year ending June 2014 reflects the region’s reputation as a year-round tourist destination (refer Destination NSW).

Increasing domestic and cruise ship tourists are drawn to the region’s diverse adventure, food and wine, and nature-based tourism.

The Go Jindabyne Masterplan and the Snowy Mountains Special Activation Precinct are being developed to help grow Jindabyne into Australia’s premier alpine destination and a great place to live and visit year-round. Snowy Mountains Special Activation Precinct investigations will seek to increase year-round tourism and ensure this beautiful alpine location attracts visitors from Australia and the world. 

Key infrastructure supporting South East and Tablelands

Key infrastructure supporting South East and Tablelands

Located close to Canberra, the region offers a skilled workforce and excellent accessibility via a network of major roads and rail links to Sydney and Canberra.

Regional airports and the nearby Canberra International Airport provide airfreight and passenger links to major markets. The Port of Eden, the third deepest natural harbour in the Southern Hemisphere, is the primary woodchip export site in Australia and a growing cruise ship destination.

The region is well serviced by a range of health and education facilities, including the Australian National University in Canberra and the University of Wollongong. Over 80% of households have internet access.

Commercial real estate in Queanbeyan is on average A$275 per square metre for office rent per annum compared to A$695 in Melbourne’s CBD, while industrial rent is on average A$120 per square metre in Queanbeyan.

Key infrastructure supporting South East and Tablelands

Sun sets over the Yass River and old railway bridge - image courtesy of Destination NSW

Current opportunities in the South East and Tablelands

  • Agribusiness and food

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    Workforce
    • Over 7,000 people employed in agribusiness and food

    • 4% of the workforce holds tertiary agricultural or environmental studies qualifications compared to the 2% national average

    • Over 5,000 businesses contribute A$1.8 billion to the regional economy.

    Infrastructure
    • Premier location for gourmet food tourism (truffles, oysters, cool climate wine and other beverages)

    • Main southern railway freight route to Sydney via Albury and Wagga Wagga

    • Over 2.5 million hectares of grazing modified pastures account for 46% of regional territory

    • CSIRO agricultural research facility at Boorowa researching productivity, sustainability and quality of the region’s agricultural production and exports.

    Success
    • Fourth largest producer of milk products, valued at A$105 million in 2017-18

    • 21% of NSW stone fruit supply including 38% of cherry production destined for markets including in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore

    • Live oysters from the South Coast exported to Asia within 30 hours of harvest.

    For more information on Agribusiness and Food, 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

    • Over 10,000 local employees in tourism

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

    Infrastructure
    • Well served by Princes Highway and access to Canberra International Airport
    • A$44 million Port of Eden investment to increase cruise ship visits
    • Capacity to berth cruise ships up to 325m alongside Breakwater Wharf
    • Snowy Mountains, Kosciuszko National Park, ski resorts, South Coast and whale watching attractions
    • High quality facilities including ski resorts, national parks, wedding and conference venues, network of visitor centres and scenic roads
    • Snowy Mountains Special Activation Precinct investigations.
    Success
    • More than 20.5 million domestic visitor nights in year ended June 2019 with domestic overnight visitor expenditure valued at A$3.4 billion

    • Number of international visitors has grown on average by 6.0% annually since year ended June 2010

    • Home to the Snowy Mountains which has been selected as an iconic location to promote regional Australia and create an environment conducive to attracting foreign direct investment into regional tourism infrastructure

    • Australia’s highest peak Mt Kosciuszko summit walk and hiking trails.

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

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  • Renewable energy

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    Workforce
    • 81 businesses employing 1,560 people

    • More than 61% of the regional workforce have a tertiary qualification, higher than the Australian average, and 22% have a STEM education.

    Infrastructure
    • Established network of high voltage transmission lines and optimal conditions for wind, hydro and solar energy generation

    • Confirmed NSW government target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and ACT government target of 100% renewable energy by 2020

    • South East Region of Renewable Energy Excellence (SERREE) industry cluster supported by NSW, ACT and Australian governments to establish a model of excellence for renewable energy industry development, with strong business and global ties

    • Canberra-based Australian National University’s renewable energy research and innovation expertise.

    Success
    • NSW’s second largest wind energy generator, Gullen Range Wind Farm, producing 165.5 megawatts

    • The world’s largest bioreactor landfill project, Woodlawn Bioreactor, producing 24 megawatts.

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

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Success stories in the South East and Tablelands

Get in touch

Megan Cleary

Deputy Director for the South East and Tablelands
Office contacts
Level 1, 11 Farrer Place
PO Box 1594
QUEANBEYAN NSW 2620
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