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The Central West region of New South Wales covers an area of 63,000 square kilometres and is home to 177,000 people. The region includes the 11 local government areas (LGAs) of Bathurst, Blayney, Cabonne, Cowra, Forbes, Lachlan, Lithgow, Oberon, Orange, Parkes and Weddin.
Rich in natural resources, agriculture and mining are significant drivers of growth. Increasingly manufacturing, health and education have taken on a significant role in the region’s $9.65 billion economy. Wholesale trade, professional and financial services also present opportunities for growth within the region.
Access to markets
The region is strategically positioned within 250 kilometres of the capital cities Sydney and Canberra and centrally located on the national route between Melbourne and Brisbane.
Well connected by road and rail, existing infrastructure ensures quick and timely access to domestic and international trade.
Major regional airports at Orange, Bathurst and Parkes ensure personnel and produce can readily access markets and business in other states or countries.
Transport and freight
Regional transport and freight networks provide access to domestic and international markets.
Intermodal terminals across the region offer direct import and export rail links to Sydney and other east coast ports, serviced industrial land, logistics and warehousing operations and cold storage export facilities.
The National Logistics Hub in Parkes combines road, rail and logistics support services to distribute local products nationwide to Perth, Sydney, Melbourne and other destinations.
Corridor upgrades of the Great Western and Newell Highways, future development of the Bells Line of Road Expressway, and the potential re-opening of the Blayney to Demondrille rail line will lead to further improvements in freight productivity.
The Australian Government has committed an initial $300 million towards building a new key piece of national infrastructure by constructing an Inland Railway between Melbourne and Brisbane via Central-West NSW and Toowoomba.
Construction of the Inland Rail corridor will put the Central West at a geographic advantage over other regions. Inland Rail will provide reduced transit times, freight costs and improve reliability and access to markets.
View the video Parkes and the Inland Rail Solution
Ease and cost of doing business
Supportive and proactive Councils in the region offer initiatives and assistance to businesses seeking to invest. Central West NSW has comparatively low business costs with abundant and competitively priced greenfield sites.
The Central West regional economy is well diversified. A key advantage of this is that the region has a highly skilled workforce in fields including engineering and manufacturing, health, education, agriculture, mining and exploration services, industrial processing and hospitality. The presence of quality secondary and tertiary educational institutions across the region provides strong professional and vocational training opportunities.
Central West NSW is a key agricultural and mining region. The agriculture and mining industry output is underpinned by abundant natural resources within rich soil and mineral deposits. Additionally, varied topography and climatic conditions across the region provide various opportunities ranging from forestry, cool climate produce, dairy, sheep and beef livestock, as well as a variety of irrigation and broad acre crops. Agriculture contributes more than $700 million to the region’s economy and the Mining industry contribution is $2.1 billion.
The region has a proven record of innovation with entrepreneurs who have leveraged existing and emerging technologies, resource management, supply chain optimisation, industry best practice, employee engagement and other competitive advantages in business. With a can-do attitude and an ability to make more from less, the region is well placed to prosper with further industry development and value-add.
The Health Care and Aged Care sector is a dominant employment sector and an important industry within the Central West. To cater for the needs of an ageing population, there are opportunities to grow and enhance the range of health services and infrastructure across the region. Many significant developments in this industry are in the planning or construction phase. Telehealth links are already established and a brand new $215 million regional hospital at Orange services smaller communities and patients via outreach services and specialist clinics. Major upgrades at the Bathurst, Parkes, Forbes and Cowra hospitals are also underway.
Education & Training
Many excellent educational facilities are located in the Central West, ranging from early childhood to tertiary education at University campuses, TAFE and skills centres. Key higher education providers in the region include Charles Sturt University, Notre Dame University, University of Western Sydney College and TAFE Western NSW. There are several boarding primary and high schools at Bathurst, Orange and Forbes. An extensive range of campus and online course offerings make a significant contribution to the regional economy and is considered an area of future growth potential.
People living in the Central West region of NSW enjoy a high quality, relaxed way of life with good access to health, secondary and tertiary education services, sporting and recreational facilities, cultural and entertainment activities, national and state parks, and a wonderful array of towns and villages surrounded by beautiful landscapes. The region is renowned for its food and wine and excellent agricultural produce. Central West NSW is a gateway region with its proximity to the Blue Mountains, Sydney, Canberra and other metropolitan and regional centres. This provides an added attraction for residents who can travel to and from the region quickly and easily.
Source: NSW Central West Regional Economic Profile, NSW Central West Freight Study, Investment Opportunity Assessment August 2013.
Infrastructure provides the means to allow the region to continue to grow by increasing the productive capacity of the economy.
Key stakeholders across the region recognise the importance of identifying those infrastructure projects that will represent the best value for money by generating increased economic benefits such as connectivity to markets, increased investment, industry development and jobs.
Regional Development Australia Central West and Central Councils NSW (Centroc) have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding ensuring that a joint approach will continue in identifying key infrastructure priorities that reflect regional priorities and aspirations. Together they have identified priority infrastructure in urban water supply and transport for the region using a Multi Criteria Analysis tool that has a wide range of criteria informed by the State and National funding framework. Work has commenced identifying other tranches of infrastructure.
Major investment and infrastructure projects within the region represent $1.7 billion in capital investment and contribute to economic growth and development on a regional scale.
View the current Major Investment and Infrastructure Projects 2015 for the Central West region.
The value of goods and services produced within the 11 LGA’s in the Central West region is $9.65 billion.
The key sectors driving the Central West region’s GRP are :
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Note: GRP at Market Prices. 2014.
Source: NIEIR, A.P. SHEERE CONSULTING
The Mining sector contributes $2.1 billion to the region’s economy, and accounts for 21.9% of the Central West region’s GRP which is significantly higher than the NSW average of 3.1%.
Manufacturing continues to contribute in terms of GRP, accounting for $727.52 million, which is equal to the State’s average at 7.5%.
Agriculture is the economic strength of many areas in the Central West region, contributing $709.52 million or 7.3% of GRP.
Health Care and Social Assistance, Public Administration and Safety and Education and Training also continue to increase their GRP contributions as these sectors expand within the region.
The contribution that Construction has made continues to grow thanks in part to the number of major infrastructure projects being undertaken across the region.
Continual industry diversification has seen the knowledge economy such as Financial and Insurance Services and Professional Scientific and Technical Services increase its share of employment and output.
Source: NSW Central West Economic Profile, NSW Trade and Investment Economic Profile: Central West and Orana, February 2015.
Key imports in the Central West region represent opportunities for current businesses and investors to provide these services locally utilising locally sourced skills and labour.
- Professional and technical services: These services include legal, accounting, architecture, engineering and associated services. These services could replace the significant amount of current imports as well as support various efforts to attract new residents.
- Mining services: These services include numerous fields of mine engineering, design, operations, geology, maintenance and development. Future mine developments will be attractive to regional businesses and investors in relation to mining services, equipment suppliers and other related industries.
- Financial and insurance services: Similar to professional and technical services, these services would support a growing resident and business population.
- Logistics (warehousing, transport): Given the potential of Inland Rail as well as forecast increases for freight and distribution (an increase of 80% over the next 20 years), there are opportunities to attract investment in logistics operations across the region.
Key Imports in the Central West Region
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Source: NSW Central West Export/Import Contribution Study 2014
- Value-added food products: With global demand growth for agricultural produce and the strong combination of resources, capability and capacity of the Central West region, exports of value-added food and fibre products show strong growth prospects.
- Metals and Coal (from existing mining): Generating the highest export contribution to the region and with excellent prospective geology, good infrastructure and existing skills, future expansion of the mining sector will provide considerable value to the regional economy.
- Education: With future demand expected to grow for education services including online and distance learning, the education sector is well placed to leverage its existing strengths and product offerings and further grow export earnings both domestically and abroad.
- Health: With an ageing population, general population growth (particularly in the over 65 years of age cohort) and the existing range of quality medical infrastructure and service providers, growing exports in health by increasing the number of residents from outside the region come to the Central West for treatment is a potential opportunity.
- Retail: With the significant growth trend towards online retail expected to continue, there is an opportunity to grow niche retail products and services from the Central West region. These opportunities will grow as high speed broadband infrastructure is rolled out across the region. The Central West will continue to be an increasingly attractive region from which to operate home based, online businesses.
Source: NSW Central West Export/Import Contribution Study 2014