NSW Department of Planning and Environment

The Central Coast’s economic strengths lie in its skilled workforce, proximity to Sydney, growing population, natural environment and resources.

The region has an estimated 116,730 local jobs and this number is projected to increase by 24,674 jobs to 141,404 by 2036.2 Employment is concentrated in areas with infrastructure that has the capacity to support future growth, potentially above current projections.

In 2011, almost one-quarter (23.3 per cent) or more than 30,400 people travelled out of the region for work each day.3 The Plan aims to increase the number of local jobs to reduce the necessity for workers to commute out of the region.

There are economic opportunities to leverage business investment and jobs from major public infrastructure investments, such as the Gosford Hospital and Wyong Hospital redevelopments, improved road and rail access to the proposed Warnervale Town Centre and upgrades to the Pacific and Central Coast highways.

Population growth has potential to grow jobs in education and training, construction and service industries. Strategic education assets will drive innovation, provide local education and career paths for young people and support life-long learning for the ageing population. These assets include the Ourimbah University Campus, which is a partnership of The University of Newcastle and Hunter Institute of TAFE: and the Gosford and Wyong campuses of Hunter TAFE. Residents in the northern parts of Sydney and parts of the Hunter Valley may also access these services.

The region’s Southern Growth Corridor, which extends from Somersby to Erina, and the Northern Growth Corridor, which extends from Tuggerah to Warnervale, have significant capacity for growth. Employment and infrastructure in these corridors and their access to local and international markets will support growth and investment.

Warehousing and logistics are economic strengths with greater capacity for growth, especially with the supply of affordable employment land, a variety of lot sizes (including large lot sizes) and good access. A network of accessible employment lands will support day-to-day local service and employment activities.

Proximity to the Sydney and Hunter regions and connections to both regions via the M1 Pacific Motorway, the Pacific Highway and the Main Northern rail line are regional assets. In the longer term, opportunities for greater connectivity may emerge, including high-speed passenger rail and improved water transport opportunities.

The region’s unique and productive natural environment, including its coastline, will support growth in the tourism, lifestyle housing, agriculture and resource sectors. Gosford will flourish as the region’s capital and centre of administrative, civic and commercial services. Improvements to health, transport, education, sporting and civic infrastructure will bolster its expanding cultural, residential and employment functions. Good building design will capitalise on its attractive waterfront setting.

The coordinated assessment and development of land owned by the Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council will deliver long term benefits for the region’s Aboriginal community.

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Direction 1 - Grow Gosford City Centre as the region's capital

Coordinating government initiatives to attract business, residential development and complementary growth in the Southern Growth Corridor will have flow-on benefits in helping to revitalise Gosford City Centre as a vibrant capital of the region.

The NSW Government will work with Council to promote commercial development through public investment and the relocation of public sector employment to the city centre. 

In recent years, significant residential development has been approved in and around Gosford City Centre. Additional development will help to build a livelier, more attractive and safer city centre. The expansion of cultural and night-time activities will support the tourism role of the city centre and complement tourism opportunities elsewhere in the region.

Precinct planning will identify opportunities to grow and support the revitalisation of the city centre (see Gosford City Centre map below). The focus will be on improving amenity, integrating transport (including walking and cycling routes), encouraging higher-density housing within walking distance of the city centre and delivering community infrastructure.

The redevelopment of Gosford Hospital and the addition of the Central Coast Medical School and Health and Medical Research Institute will drive further investment in allied health and research, both in Gosford and elsewhere in the region.

Precinct planning will be complemented by long term transport planning, to deliver integrated transport that is people-focused and supports the future growth of and access to the city.

Planning for transport and car parking needs to be integrated so that both residents and workers can access the city centre and key parts of the Southern Growth Corridor.


1.1 Grow Gosford City Centre as the region’s capital and focus of professional, civic and health services for the region’s population.

1.2 Undertake and integrate precinct planning for the Waterfront, Arts and Entertainment, City Core, Railway and Hospital precincts – to grow jobs and coordinate the delivery of improved transport infrastructure.

1.3 Attract and facilitate greater commercial development in Gosford City Centre by improving the public domain and providing opportunities for development through local planning controls.

1.4 Promote Gosford City Centre as an attractive place to live, work and play through local planning controls that support vibrant and safe cultural, entertainment and visitor activities.

1.5 Enhance the growth potential of the health precinct around the Gosford Hospital and allied health facilities in Gosford City Centre to drive the growth of services and specialisation in the region.

1.6 Integrate the railway station with other activities and seek opportunities to improve east–west connectivity across the railway line.

1.7 Identify opportunities for the consolidation and relocation of government services and agencies to Gosford City Centre.

1.8 Ensure that development in Gosford City Centre responds to its natural setting and complements the public domain.

1.9 Improve access to Gosford City Centre from the west and north.


Gosford City Centre

Click to enlarge.


Direction 2 - Focus economic development in the Southern and Northern Growth Corridors

The Southern and Northern Growth Corridors provide major infrastructure and services and contain 48 per cent of the region’s jobs.4 These areas will remain priority locations for future jobs, services and business growth.

The centres and employment areas in these corridors have capacity to support a variety of activities – residential, health, education, research, knowledge-based industries, professional services, sport and leisure, agribusiness, food manufacturing, high-tech manufacturing and clean technologies.

Improving access to and through these corridors will allow surrounding communities to access services and infrastructure more effectively.

Southern Growth Corridor

The Central Coast Highway defines the Southern Growth Corridor, linking Somersby in the west and Erina in the east. It provides services to communities in the southern half of the region.

The success of the corridor depends on protecting its natural attributes, revitalising and facilitating better transport access with Gosford City Centre and achieving more diverse economic growth opportunities in Somersby Business Park and the Erina commercial precinct (see Southern Growth Corridor map below).

Brisbane Water, Erina Creek, the Brisbane Water National Park and Rumbalara and Kincumba Mountain Reserves provide a dramatic landscape setting for the corridor. Their environmental value will be protected and recreational opportunities enhanced as centres within the corridor are revitalised.

East Gosford centre and other infill locations will support local growth and renewal opportunities.

There are opportunities to expand the capacity of the industry, manufacturing and logistics hub at Somersby and capitalise on its proximity to productive rural and resource lands in the west of the region.


2.1 Undertake precinct planning for Somersby Business Park, Mt Penang and Kariong to expand employment in the regional gateway and improve services, synergies between activities and access to the M1 Pacific Motorway and Central Coast Highway.

2.2 Capitalise on improved access from the $170 million upgrade of the Central Coast Highway, Brisbane Water Drive and Manns Road intersection to increase employment diversity and integrate land uses at West Gosford.5

2.3 Deliver renewal plans for Gosford City Centre to enhance the function of the Southern Growth Corridor.

2.4 Support revitalisation and localised development opportunities in East Gosford.

2.5 Plan for a growing and vibrant mixed use centre at Erina that is well-connected and has enhanced urban amenity.

2.6 Protect environmental values along the Southern Growth Corridor.

2.7 Plan for increased road, public transport and pedestrian and bicycle connections along the Southern Growth Corridor.


Southern Growth Corridor map

Click to enlarge.


Northern Growth Corridor

The Pacific Highway links Tuggerah to Warnervale, creating the Northern Growth Corridor – a priority location for service and business growth (see Northern Growth Corridor map below).

The success of this corridor relies on:

  • developing complementary roles for Tuggerah
  • connecting to and developing new growth opportunities in and around the proposed Warnervale Town Centre; and
  • responding to natural hazards which affect the area, such as flooding.

Wyong will expand on its civic, administrative, residential, commercial and cultural roles – capitalising on its prominent hilltop position, heritage character and riverfront location.

Tuggerah area will continue to function as a regionally significant employment area, with a centre focus, improved pedestrian connections and development which responds to the flood characteristics of the area.

Environmental assets including Wyong River, Porters Creek Wetland and Tuggerah Lakes Reserve will be protected and managed.

Residents will benefit from the establishment of a regional sports and recreation corridor extending from the regional hockey complex at North Wyong, through the Baker Park, Wyong Racecourse area and Pioneer Dairy, to the sporting facilities at Tuggerah.

Warnervale Town Centre will emerge as a new mixed use strategic centre to service new communities, supported by a new transport interchange. Development will support the establishment of a health precinct at Wyong Hospital and expanded retirement housing in the north of the region.

The Sparks Road and Pacific Highway corridors will continue to be important for new development areas. A coordinated review will prioritise delivery, infrastructure and biodiversity offset actions for the Wyong Employment Zone and Warnervale Town Centre. This will include consideration of recent development proposals in this area.


2.8 Revitalise Wyong as a mixed use centre servicing the northern part of the region with infill residential development in central locations.

2.9 Plan for the development of a health precinct surrounding the redeveloped Wyong Hospital.

2.10 Create a diverse, connected and vibrant Tuggerah centre.

2.11 Promote Warnervale as a new strategic centre on the Central Coast and plan for its transport interchange.

2.12 Leverage the planned Pacific Highway upgrade and new Link Road to improve transport connectivity and amenity along the Tuggerah to Warnervale corridor.

2.13 Promote industry-focused investment in the Wyong Employment Zone by resolving infrastructure contributions and biodiversity offsets, including finalising biodiversity certification in the zone.


Northern Growth Corridor map

Click to enlarge.


Direction 3 - Support priority economic sectors

Support will be provided to economic sectors with existing or potential strengths to increase local employment. This will be done by:

  • ensuring an adequate supply of well-located and serviced land for commercial and industrial development; and
  • establishing a business-friendly regulatory environment with timely and efficient business approvals, to enable existing businesses to adapt to changing consumer needs.

Focusing commercial and retail development in centres, growth corridors and identified clusters, and supporting it with public domain improvements, will encourage local employment growth.

Monitoring the land and infrastructure needs of economic sectors will inform land use and infrastructure planning priorities and improve infrastructure sequencing and delivery.

Leveraging public and private health services and infrastructure will provide opportunities for further growth and investment. Initiatives to support industries which currently export workers will be identified, for example, the Smart Work Hubs in Gosford and North Wyong, to reduce the number of people commuting out of the region.

Strengthening the manufacturing, construction, resource extraction and agriculture industries will promote ancillary industries such as food manufacturing and processing.

There are ongoing opportunities to promote the tourism appeal of the region's bush, beaches and waterways. Water-based activities associated with the region's waterways, Lake Macquarie, the Hawkesbury River and proximity to Sydney, will be explored. Strengthening transport connections to, from and within the region will also support tourism growth.



3.1 Promote growth and renewal in centres by providing planning controls that create the right conditions for this to occur.

3.2 Harness opportunities for business investment and employment by leveraging major public transport investment and projects.

3.3 Establish the Northern and Southern Growth Corridors as key locations for economic development, residential growth and investment in health, education, research, knowledge-based industries, professional services, sport and leisure, agribusiness, food manufacturing, high-tech manufacturing and clean technologies.

3.4 Leverage the existing University of Newcastle and the Central Coast campus at Ourimbah to drive innovation and specialisation in the region.

3.5 Capitalise on the region's location and coastline to enhance the visitor economy with a focus on events-based tourism and update planning controls.

3.6 Collaborate with Council and industry to prepare industry-specific planning strategies for priority economic sectors.

3.7 Create a centre of innovation through plans that build on the specialisation in food manufacturing.

Direction 4 - Strengthen inter-regional and intra-regional connections for business

Improvements to passenger and freight connections to Sydney via the M1 Pacific Motorway and rail will benefit residents, workers and business (see Inter-regional connections map below).

The construction of transport infrastructure outside the region, such as the NorthConnex link between the M1 Pacific Motorway and the M2 Hills Motorway, will drive demand for accessible employment land on the Central Coast. Clustering freight and logistics businesses around the M1 Pacific Motorway interchanges at Somersby, Tuggerah and Warnervale will maximise these opportunities.

Improving connections between strategic centres and transport gateways will make it easier for people to use public transport to get to work, recreation and services.

Allowing freight to move freely around the region is important for business and industry to maintain access to local markets and beyond. This is particularly the case for the region’s agricultural and extractive resource sectors. These industries are primarily located west of the M1 Pacific Motorway.

Improving rail passenger services to Sydney will allow residents to access a wider variety of jobs and business opportunities. The Australian Government is investigating the merits of a high-speed rail network to reduce travel time between capital cities along the east coast. This would generate new opportunities for economic development in the region.


Inter-regional connections map

Click to enlarge.



4.1 Enhance the competitive value of the region by encouraging business and employment activities that leverage the major inter-regional transport connections to Sydney and the Hunter regions.

4.2 Strengthen inter-regional connections for business by linking the growth corridors with the M1 Pacific Motorway and rail corridor for the efficient and productive movement of freight and people.

4.3 Alleviate pinch points in the road network to improve freight and passenger access, to improve intra-regional connectivity.

4.4 Improve connections between residential and employment areas, including opportunities to better use public transport, walking and cycling modes.

Direction 5 - Support new and expanded industrial activity

Maintaining an ongoing supply of land for employment in strategic locations will support the regional economy and create more jobs closer to home. Employment land close to inter-regional links including Somersby, the Wyong Employment Zone, Tuggerah and Bushells Ridge will remain popular for manufacturing (engineering and food manufacturing), logistics and warehousing.

The region has 1,990 hectares of zoned industrial land, 54 per cent of which was undeveloped at January 2016.6 Undeveloped land includes areas affected by biodiversity and infrastructure issues. Ensuring an ongoing supply of zoned and serviced employment land will require a partnership between State and local government, infrastructure providers and the development industry.

Ongoing delivery of employment land in varying lot sizes and locations will help meet growing demand and provide for large and small businesses. Providing employment land in locations such as Erina, Kincumber, Charmhaven, Tumbi Umbi and Woy Woy will support local services and employment.

Tools to guide and monitor land use planning, infrastructure planning and investment decisions will be developed to ensure an adequate supply of zoned employment land and the most efficient return on public and private infrastructure investment.


5.1 Maintain an adequate supply of employment land that is appropriately serviced to respond to changing land use, location and the floor space demands 
of industry.

5.2 Locate large-scale industrial uses, freight, manufacturing and logistics businesses near freight routes and the M1 Pacific Motorway interchanges at Somersby, Tuggerah and Warnervale.

5.3 Enable the development of new industrial land and coordinate infrastructure delivery through collaboration between State and local government and infrastructure providers.

5.4 Protect employment land in suburbs across the region to provide local services and employment.

5.5 Monitor the supply of employment land and infrastructure servicing via the Employment Land Development Monitor.

Direction 6 - Strengthen the economic self-determination of Aboriginal communities

OCHRE (Opportunity, Choice, Healing, Responsibility and Empowerment) is the NSW Government’s plan for Aboriginal affairs.

It focuses on:

  • revitalising and promoting Aboriginal languages and culture;
  • creating opportunities;
  • increasing the Aboriginal community’s capacity;
  • providing choice and empowering Aboriginal people to exercise that choice; and
  • giving Aboriginal people the tools to take responsibility for their own future.

The NSW Government and Central Coast Council will work with the Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council to identify how its land can best be planned, managed and developed.

Encouraging Aboriginal people to gain economic benefit from their land will support broader regional development, biodiversity and social outcomes. The NSW Government and Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council will work towards achieving the overall aim of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 (NSW) which lays the foundations for a more secure economic and self-reliant future for all Aboriginal people in NSW.


6.1 Collaborate with the Central Coast Council and the Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council to strategically assess the Land Council’s landholdings and identify priority sites to create a pipeline of projects.

6.2 Incorporate the outcome of the assessment into a revised North Wyong Shire Structure Plan.

Direction 7 - Increase job containment in the region

The NSW Government aims to reduce the percentage of employed persons who travel outside the region each day for work. The planning system cannot create jobs but it can facilitate economic development that leads to job creation.

The Regional Economic Development and Employment Strategy (2009) for the Central Coast aimed to improve local employment in the region and was developed through collaboration with all levels of government and industry. It outlined strategies to:

  • secure new jobs and support existing jobs by facilitating growth associated with the region’s growing population;
  • build on the region’s advantages in food production, logistics, manufacturing and tourism;
  • create new advantages through clusters in health, green industries and the ageing sectors;
  • attract new businesses and associated services such as food production, logistics, manufacturing, tourism, government agencies, and call and service centres; and
  • strengthen employment lands, centres, and area-specific priorities for Gosford City Centre, Tuggerah, Wyong and Ourimbah.

To remain effective, the Strategy needs to be updated to respond to the needs of local businesses.

Graph showing what mode of transport residents use, with 70% using a private vehicle


7.1 Facilitate economic development that will lead to more local employment opportunities on the Central Coast.

7.2 Update the Regional Economic Development and Employment Strategy to identify strategies and actions to:

  • support priority economic sectors; and
  • identify new economic employment opportunities for the region, including sectors for which residents currently commute outside the region.

Page last updated: 28/07/2022