The NSW Government will work with each council to deliver the directions and actions set out in this Plan. The following priorities build on the directions and actions in this Plan to guide investigations and implementation.
Planning will encourage infrastructure delivery that targets the needs of its communities. It will also encourage efficient allocation of resources and investment to improve the liveability and sustainability of the region.
The NSW Government will assist councils to translate these priorities into local plans.
The region has a variety of settlement types, ranging from the regional cities of Dubbo, Orange and Bathurst (each with broader catchments), to the strategic centres of Parkes, Forbes, Mudgee, Cowra and Lithgow, and local centres; including smaller towns and villages.
This interdependent network of settlements is a strategic asset for the region. The larger regional cities support a network of smaller settlements in the region and extend into other regions, making services and facilities reasonably accessible to most communities. Many of the settlements have istinct characteristics that make them attractive places to live, work and visit.
Bathurst is Australia’s oldest inland settlement. Rich in built and natural history, it sits at the heart of the Bathurst Regional Local Government Area. Its population was estimated at 42,231 in 2015.
Bathurst is a progressive regional city with a growing population, attracting families to new residential areas such as Abercrombie, Eglinton, Kelso North and Windradyne.
Bathurst services a catchment of over 146,000 people and the Local Government Area contributed $1.93 billion to gross regional product (GRP) in 2011. Economic sectors include manufacturing, public administration and safety, education and training, health care and social assistance, services (electricity, water and gas), construction and retail.
Several NSW Government regional and head offices have relocated to Bathurst, while a thriving retail sector contributes to more than 3,200 established businesses. Rural areas support livestock grazing and wool production, as well as a forestry industry.
Tourism is a major economic driver. For example, upwards of 200,000 people visit during iconic race events at the internationally famous Mount Panorama motor racing circuit. The city attracts students to over 60 educational institutions including Charles Sturt University, Western Institute of TAFE and the Western Sydney University’s clinical education facility at Bathurst Base Hospital.
Blayney Local Government Area directly benefits from its proximity to Orange and Bathurst. Residential land releases at Millthorpe and Blayney will meet the needs of a growing population who want to work locally, or in Bathurst or Orange.
Blayney Local Government Area contributed $594 million to GRP in 2011, supported by mining, manufacturing and agriculture sectors. It is home to a substantial cold storage facility, a pet food manufacturing industry and one of Australia’s largest gold mining operations at Cadia Valley (which is also partly located in Cabonne Local Government Area).
The Central West Livestock Exchange near Blayney is a high quality livestock trading facility. Blayney’s recent economic growth is due in part to the recent mine expansion at Cadia Valley, a 15-turbine windfarm (one of the first in the region and NSW) and a productive agricultural sector.
A 61-kilometre potable water supply pipeline from Orange to Carcoar is approaching construction. This will increase water security and support industry development.
Bogan Local Government Area is located in the north-west of Orana and borders the Far West region. The main service centre of Nyngan sits at the junction of the Mitchell and Barrier highways on the Bogan River, and supports smaller towns and villages such as Girilambone and Coolabah. Mining and agricultural production, including livestock grazing and large-scale cropping, are primary economic drivers. The Local Government Area contributed $238 million to GRP in 2011, with mining the largest contributor and agriculture the largest employer.
Value-adding is a key opportunity given the quantity and quality of the agricultural commodities produced. Nyngan has road and rail access to Dubbo via Narromine, which is linked directly to Parkes and the intermodal hub and the proposed inland rail route. Bogan is well placed to capitalise on global demand for proteinand grain-based commodities.
Cabonne Local Government Area is one of the fastest-growing local government areas in the Central West due to its agricultural sector and proximity to Orange. Cabonne is characterised by numerous villages, including the largest centre of Molong, 35 kilometres from Orange; Yeoval, Cumnock, Manildra, Cudal, Cargo, Canowindra and Eugowra; and a significant area of rural land surrounding these towns and villages. Each settlement provides its communities with services and facilities.
The Local Government Area contributed $1 billion to GRP in 2011, supported by significant mining, agriculture and manufacturing operations, which provide over half the area’s jobs. The agricultural sector supports over 50 per cent of all businesses, and several value-adding industries are linked to agriculture, including a flour mill, canola mill and olive processing facilities.
The Local Government Area also has one of Australia’s largest gold mining operations, at Cadia Valley (also partly located in Blayney Local Government Area). A potable water pipeline from Orange to Molong Dam, and then from Molong to Cumnock and Yeoval, will improve water security.
Coonamble Local Government Area is in the north of the Orana on the Castlereagh River. Coonamble is the local service centre. It is situated 160 kilometres north of Dubbo and supports villages such as Gulargambone and Quambone. Coonamble has a Multi-Purpose Service, a rural service and retail sector, primary and high schools, and a TAFE.
The Local Government Area contributed $194 million in GRP in 2011. Agriculture is the main industry, employing over 20 per cent of the workforce, and producing commodities such as cereals, oil seed and legume crops, and livestock. Opportunities exist in aged care and the development of Coonamble’s cultural and historic character.
Cowra Local Government Area is in the south of the region and was home to around 12,476 people in 2015. Cowra is a strong and vibrant community that sits at the junction of the Mid-Western Highway, Olympic Highway and Lachlan Valley Way and enjoys direct connections to Bathurst, Wagga Wagga, Dubbo and Canberra.
Cowra provides services to smaller villages of Woodstock, Wattamondara, Wyangala, Noonbinna, Gooloogong and Billimari. Cowra is the region’s gateway to Canberra.
Cowra Local Government Area contributed $447 million to GRP in 2011, with agriculture the largest contributor and supporting industries including dairy, livestock, vegetables, wool, cereal and oil seed production. Viticulture has become a significant industry over the last two decades.
Cowra supports a robust manufacturing sector with value-adding activities in agriculture, engineering and furniture for wholesale trade. The emerging aviation sector around Cowra Airport includes the expansion of the existing light aircraft manufacturing plant, a future pilot training academy and other aviation-related industries.
The Dubbo Regional Local Government Area is at the heart of the region and had an estimated population of 51,007 in 2015. It includes the regional city of Dubbo, the local service centre of Wellington and the towns and villages of Geurie, Wongarbon, Stuart Town, Mumbil and Brocklehurst. Dubbo Regional Local Government Area contributed $2.48 billion to GRP in 2011, supported by a diversity of economic sectors including health care and social assistance, public administration and safety, construction, manufacturing, retail, agriculture, transport and warehousing, and finance.
Dubbo is one of the largest inland regional cities in NSW and sits at the intersection of major road, rail and air routes. It services a catchment area of over 120,000 people from within the region and in the adjoining Far West region. Dubbo’s broad range of industries reinforce its role as a regional city, supported by extensive educational, professional, government and retail services.
Taronga Western Plains Zoo is a major tourist attraction, contributing $194 million.
Wellington sits at the foot of Mount Arthur between the Macquarie and Bell Rivers. It supports surrounding agricultural activities such as cropping, wool, beef and prime lamb farming on rich productive soils. Tourists are attracted to the Wellington Caves complex, Lake Burrendong, the Burrendong Arboretum, Mount Arthur, small wineries and boutique galleries.
The Forbes Shire Local Government Area is located in the south of the Central West on the banks of the Lachlan River, with an estimated population of 9,754 in 2015.
Forbes is ideally placed to enhance its diverse agricultural and manufacturing base. The economy is underpinned by irrigated and dryland agriculture, particularly grains and livestock, as well as wholesale trade, health care and manufacturing. The Lachlan Health Service Redevelopment, which includes the refurbishment of Forbes District Hospital, will support the growing and changing community.
The Forbes Central West Livestock Exchange is an undercover cattle, sheep and pig trading centre, and among the biggest livestock trading centres in NSW.
Gilgandra Local Government Area sits on the Castlereagh River, 65 kilometres north of Dubbo. The local service centre of Gilgandra is located at the junction of the Newell, Oxley and Castlereagh highways and services other villages including Tooraweenah. Gilgandra has a well-equipped hospital, a strong retail sector, schools and a TAFE.
Gilgandra Local Government Area contributed $159 million in GRP in 2011, supported primarily by agriculture, including cereal, oil seed and legume crops, and livestock production. Potential economic growth areas include aged care, renewable energy generation and enhancing Gilgandra’s cultural and historic character.
Lachlan Shire is located in the south-west of the region and borders the Far West and Riverina Murray regions. The shire had an estimated population of 6,767 in 2015. Condobolin, the local service centre, is the main residential area and provides a hub for agricultural activity, grain storage and transportation links for Lake Cargelligo, Tottenham, Tullibigeal, Burcher, Derriwong, Fifield and Albert. Condobolin is also a centre for sporting and recreational activity. Lake Cargelligo is a popular tourist destination.
It forms part of the largest natural inland lake system in NSW and has been used for centuries by the Wiradjuri people as a source of food and water.
The Local Government Area contributed $312 million to GRP in 2011 with agriculture the largest industry. This includes irrigation and cropping based on the Lachlan River floodplain involving cotton and grains, and livestock. Mining is a developing sector within and adjoining Lachlan Shire and has the potential to increase population and job numbers.
The Lithgow Local Government Area is in the region’s east on the edge of the Blue Mountains, about 140 kilometres west of Sydney. It had an estimated population of 21,416 people in 2015, and includes the strategic centre of Lithgow, the towns of Portland and Wallerawang, and numerous villages.
It includes large areas of national parks and state forests, including in the Wollemi and Marrangaroo National Parks, and Newnes State Forest.
The Local Government Area contributed $1.58 billion to GRP in 2011. Mining was the largest contributor through established coal mines, supported by electricity, gas, water and waste water services. Other economic sectors include health care and social assistance, manufacturing, public administration and safety, and retail.
Lithgow Local Government Area has the potential to grow renewable energy industries such as wind energy, with a private wind farm in operation at Hampton, south-east of Lithgow. It is also well suited to agricultural-based industries to supply the Sydney Basin, and as a commuter suburb of Sydney via the rail network.
Mid-Western Regional Council in the Orana had an estimated population of 24,191 in 2015. The strategic centre of Mudgee has grown in recent years due to the mining boom. It services other towns including Rylstone, Kandos, Ilford, Bylong and the historic town of Gulgong.
The Local Government Area is well known for its built heritage, food and wine tourism, and mining. The Castlereagh and Great Western highways connect Mudgee with Sydney, and the Golden Highway connects to Dubbo and Newcastle. These connections provide opportunities to move agricultural and mining products to domestic and export markets.
The Local Government Area contributed $1.67 billion to GRP in 2011, driven by mining (coal), manufacturing, agriculture, forestry and fishing. Mining accounts for 15 per cent of employment, followed by retail services at 11.9 per cent and agriculture at 10 per cent.
Narromine Local Government Area is in the heart of the Macquarie Valley, 37 kilometres west of Dubbo. It had an estimated population of 6,822 in 2015. Narromine is the Shire’s main town on the Macquarie River and provides services to the smaller settlements of Trangie and Tomingley. Significant opportunities exist in freight and logistics, with the proposed Inland Rail planned to intersect with existing rail freight infrastructure at Narromine.
Narromine Local Government Area contributed $261 million to GRP in 2011, with the largest contribution from agriculture, including sheep, cattle and wool production, as well as broadacre cereal crops and citrus fruit. Cotton production has increased in recent years. Narromine’s agricultural contribution to GRP relies on water allocations from upstream Burrendong Dam, with groundwater allocations during drier periods softening downturns.
Agriculture, health care, education and retail provide most jobs in the Local Government Area, with Tomingley’s significant mining activity adding to the diverse employment opportunities.
Narromine is an aviation hub, with gliding and aviation-related development around Narromine Aerodrome including Skypark, a residential aviation precinct.
Oberon Local Government Area is in the east of the Central West, adjacent to the Blue Mountains. It had an estimated population of 5,318 in 2015. Tourist attractions include the Jenolan Caves and Mayfield Garden, one of the world’s largest privately owned cool climate gardens. The Local Government Area contributed $301 million to GRP in 2011 through the manufacturing and agriculture, and fishing and forestry sectors. Value-adding related to forestry products is a major economic driver in Oberon, with more than 25 per cent of employment in manufacturingrelated industries. Unique agricultural pursuits are a growing and vital industry.
Oberon’s climate supports specialised horticulture. Its location close to Sydney and export markets will drive growth in agriculture and associated value-add manufacturing industries.
Orange Local Government Area includes the regional city of Orange and part of the highly productive Mount Canobolas horticultural precinct. Orange had an estimated population of 41,809 in 2015.
Orange Local Government Area contributed $2.49 billion to GRP in 2011, driven by health care and social assistance, mining and mining support, public administration, tourism, viticulture and horticulture. Orange is also home to the Head Office of the NSW Department of Industry, Skills and Regional Development.
Orange provides higher-order services to the wider region through the Western NSW Local Health Service Orange Hospital, Charles Sturt University and TAFE, and a regional airport at Spring Hill. The regional city includes new release areas for residential and industrial land uses.
Expansive wine and horticultural industries throughout the Local Government Area reinforce the city’s agricultural focus and support a significant tourism sector.
The Parkes Shire Local Government Area boasts a strong, diverse economy, with a GRP of nearly $1 billion in 2011. The economy is underpinned by agriculture and mining, strengthened by a robust transport and logistics industry, and retail and public sector jobs.
The Shire had an estimated population of 15,337 in 2015 and includes the strategic centre of Parkes and smaller towns of Peak Hill, Alectown, Cookamidgera, Bogan Gate, Trundle and Tullamore.
The mining sector contributes almost a third of the GRP, mainly generated through Northparkes Mines copper mine. Retail, health care and agriculture, which together account for a third of employment.
Parkes sits at the intersection of the Newell Highway in NSW and the rail corridor that links Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney and Perth, as well as Adelaide and Darwin.
Parkes will be a critical intermodal node for the proposed Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail. It will provide the catalyst for more efficient freight transport and a stronger Parkes National Logistics Hub, a 600-hectare site dedicated to 24/7 multimodal activity. These improvements will be enhanced by the Southern and Western ring roads around Parkes to support heavy vehicle movements.
More than 80 per cent of Australia’s population can be reached in less than 12 hours by road from Parkes. This presents opportunities for value-add industries in the agricultural sector including processing facilities and a centralised storage and distribution point for products such as fertiliser, chemicals and fuel.
Tourism experiences and opportunities are diverse, ranging from the Goobang National Park, the CSIRO Parkes observatory that attracts over 120,000 visitors a year, the annual Trundle ABBA Festival, and the Parkes Elvis Festival, which attracts over 22,000 visitors.
Projects to support the Shire’s economic growth and social fabric include an innovative multipurpose library facility with meeting rooms and an exhibition area, and a CBD Vibrancy Plan that includes new civic centre infrastructure and cultural spaces.
Warren Shire in the Orana has an area of 10,860 square kilometres, equivalent to around 1.3 per cent of the State’s land surface. The Shire had an estimated population of 2,901 people in 2015. Warren is the main township and administrative centre, with smaller villages at Collie and Nevertire.
Warren Shire is a rural area with land used primarily for agriculture, particularly sheep and cattle grazing, wheat, oats and cotton. Warren Local Government Area contributed $148 million to GRP in 2011. In addition to those directly employed within the industry, agriculture’s economic benefits flow on to other industries. It is the largest employer, followed by health care and social assistance, retail, public administration, and education and training.
The Macquarie Marshes, the most significant wetland complex in Australia, sit 110 kilometres north of Warren, and are listed on the Ramsar Convention as a wetland area of international importance. They support a unique inland wetland community and a number of agricultural enterprises.
The Warrumbungle Shire Local Government Area is located in the north of the Orana mid-way between Brisbane and Melbourne and two hours from Tamworth in the north and Dubbo in the south. The estimated 2015 population was 9,728. The local service centre of Coonabarabran provides essential health, retail and education services to the surrounding towns and villages of Mendooran, Bugaldie, Coolah, Dunedoo, Baradine, Binnaway, Neilrex, Purlewaugh and Merrygoen.
The Local Government Area contributed $317 million to GRP in 2011, with agriculture providing over 30 per cent of jobs. It is highly regarded for livestock grazing and cropping, and its location on the Newell Highway, with access to railway lines at Binnaway and Mendooran, provides opportunities to expand the freight network.
The Warrumbungle National Park west of Coonabarabran is a popular tourist destination and is home to the internationally significant Siding Spring Observatory. The Observatory has international Dark Sky status and is a critical piece of national infrastructure that provides jobs and attracts tourists.
The Weddin Shire Local Government Area in the region’s south is located two hours from Orange, Canberra, Wagga Wagga and Dubbo. The local service centre of Grenfell provides services to the surrounding community. The Local Government Area had an estimated population of 3,701 in 2015 and contributed $133 million to GRP in 2011.
The Local Government Area contains historic cultural and built environs. Its economy is primarily driven by the agriculture sector, which accounts for two-thirds of local businesses. It supports a variety of agricultural enterprises, including broadacre cropping and grazing, associated agribusinesses, manufacturing, logistics, and retail businesses centred in and around Grenfell.
Page last updated: 16/09/2021