The NSW Government will work with each council to deliver the directions and actions set out in this Plan.
Priorities for each council are set out in the following section and will guide further investigations and implementation. The priorities build on the directions and actions in this Plan to achieve outcomes on the ground.
Planning will encourage infrastructure delivery that targets the needs of its communities. It will also encourage efficiencies in the allocation of resources and investment to improve the liveability and sustainability of the region.
The NSW Government will assist councils to translate these into local plans.
Armidale Regional is in the heart of the New England area and enjoys a prosperous economy, diverse community, outstanding natural assets and access to high level services.
Settlement is centred on the regional city of Armidale which serves the wider New England area with higher-order services including health, retail and professional services. A strong education focus is founded around digital opportunities provided by the NBN, the University of New England, numerous public and private schools and the NSW TAFE Digital Hub. Ben Lomond, Guyra, Ebor, Hillgrove and other smaller settlements service the communities outside of Armidale.
Armidale Regional has significant natural assets including the World Heritage-listed rainforest protected within the Oxley Wild Rivers and New England national parks and spectacular waterfalls gorges.
Cool climate vineyards, fine food and a fascinating cultural heritage attract visitors.
Glen Innes Severn is located in the north east of the New England Tablelands. Glen Innes sits at the cross roads of the New England and Gwydir highways and provides essential retail, commercial and community services to local communities. Emmaville and Deepwater fulfil local service needs and contribute to the unique local character.
Glen Innes Severn provides iconic visitor experiences including the Australian Standing Stones, where the Australian Celtic Festival is celebrated each May. Its abundant environmental assets include World Heritage-listed Washpool and Gibraltar Range national parks.
The Shire has a rich agricultural and mining history and its location atop the Great Dividing Range has seen growth in wind farming. The region’s first wind farm is currently under construction with a second and third to follow.
The Gunnedah LGA has a history in agricultural production, agribusiness and mineral resource production. The Gunnedah strategic centre, at the junction of Oxley and Kamilaroi highways, provides essential retail, commercial and community services to local communities. Curlewis, Mullaley, Tambar Springs, Carroll, Breeza, Kelvin and Emerald Hill fulfil local service needs and contribute to the unique local character of the area.
Gunnedah’s economy continues to attract and support jobs, including a thriving commercial, cultural and retail service sector as well as valueadding industries in manufacturing and processing.
The nation’s biggest agricultural field day, Agquip, is held at Gunnedah each August. Farmers markets and the Gunnedah Sunday Session and Markets provide an alternative market place for artists, makers, foodies and alternative and unique product producers. One of Australia’s healthiest koala colonies calls Gunnedah LGA home.
Gwydir Shire stretches from the Queensland border to the Endear Range in the south. Its diverse landscapes of steep and undulating lands to flat open plains attract tourists, particularly those seeking eco–tourism and adventure tourism experiences.
Bingara and Warialda provide local retail, commercial and community services and a high quality of life for residents and visitors. Gravesend, Cobbadah, Upper Horton, Croppa Creek, North Star and Warialda Rail fulfil local service needs and contribute to the unique local character of the area.
Gwydir has a strong and growing economy based on agriculture and supports the ‘Golden Triangle’ around North Star, famous for its high yielding crops such as wheat, barley, sorghum, maize, chick peas, canola and cotton.
Gwydir has abundant environmental assets, including part of Mt Kaputar National Park and Copeton Dam, and the Gwydir and Horton rivers.
This rich environment underpins the area’s important tourism sector. Managing these assets will deliver a healthy environment and a strong economy.
Inverell LGA is nestled alongside the Macintyre River on the western slopes of New England. Inverell is the focal centre located on the Gwydir Highway and provides essential retail, commercial and community services to a range of local communities. Ashford, Gilgai, Yetman and Delungra fulfil local service needs and contribute to the unique local character of the area.
Inverell has a strong and growing economy based on agriculture, particularly beef cattle and cropping. It is the operating centre for a large beef processing company, the largest employer in Inverell. Inverell is also a major contributor to Australia’s sapphire production and offers a popular tourist attraction in gem fossicking.
Copeton Dam is the largest water storage in New England North West, providing the water source for environmental flows to the Gwydir catchment and irrigation. Copeton Dam provides a reliable domestic and industrial water supply for Inverell and is a popular water-based recreation area.
Liverpool Plains is located in the south-west of the region and is strategically located to access Sydney and Newcastle. Quirindi and Werris Creek boast rural charm, providing essential retail, commercial and community services to a range of local communities. Willow Tree, Wallabadah, Caroona, Walhallow, Currabubula, Premer, and Spring Ridge fulfil local service needs and contribute to the unique local character of the area.
Liverpool Plains has some of the most productive land in NSW due to its rich black soils underlain by extensive ground water resources. Not only is it an important food producing area it is also located at the southern end of the Gunnedah Coal Basin. Improved transport connections to Sydney and Newcastle will continue to support future economic opportunities.
Moree Plains is located in the north-west of the region adjoining the Queensland border. Moree provides essential retail, commercial and community services to a range of local communities. Mungindi, Boggabilla, Ashley Biniguy, Boomi, Pallamallawa, Gurley and Weemalah fulfil local service needs and contribute to the unique local character of the area.
Moree is one of the top agricultural producing areas in Australia. Large-scale cereal and chickpea crops as well as cotton are significant export and domestic industries. The area also supplies pecan nuts, sheep, cattle, oil seeds and olives which contribute significantly to the national economy.
Moree is one of the key locations for the potential Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail. Moree has abundant tourism assets, including artesian spa baths, art deco architecture and water park. These assets continue to draw tourists and contribute to attractive lifestyles.
Narrabri LGA is located on the western border of the New England North West. At its heart is the Namoi Valley renowned by its rich fertile soils producing some of the world’s highest quality wheat, cotton, lamb and beef.
Narrabri provides essential retail, commercial and community services to a range of local communities. The centres of Wee Waa and Boggabri, with a number of smaller settlements including Pilliga, Gwabegar, Baan Baa and Bellata, fulfil local service needs and contribute to the unique local character of the area.
Narrabri has a strong and growing economy centred on agricultural production, agribusiness and mineral resource production and includes several research institutions. It is home to the Pilliga State Forest or Pilliga Scrub, which is the largest semi-arid woodland in the state. This rare forest type supports approximately 900 native plants and over 100 native animal species.
Tamworth Regional is strategically positioned in the south of the region with access to Sydney and Newcastle. Tamworth is a regional city that provides one in three of the region’s homes and jobs and a variety of high-level services, including civic, entertainment and cultural venues. These include Tamworth Base Hospital, TAFE NSW and national sporting facilities like the Australian Equine and Livestock Events Centre.
The balance of the urban population lives in surrounding smaller settlements including Manilla, Kootingal, Barraba, Nundle and Moonbi.
Tamworth’s strong agricultural foundations in industries such as poultry, beef cattle and cropping, are well serviced by rail, road and air networks. The manufacturing industry, retail and commercial services, aviation and tourism are also important economic generators. The Tamworth Country Music Festival attracts more than 50,000 festival goers each year.14
Tenterfield LGA is the northern gateway to New England adjoining the Queensland border. Tenterfield provides essential retail, commercial and community services to local communities. Drake, Urbenville and other settlements fulfil local service needs and contribute to the unique local character of the area.
Tenterfield has a strong and growing economy based on agriculture and mineral resource production. Retail trade, health, education and tourist accommodation also are also important economic generators.
Tenterfield has a rich historic heritage. It is known as the ‘Birthplace of our Nation’ - Sir Henry Parkes delivered his Federation Speech in the Tenterfield School of Arts in 1889, which ultimately led to Federation in 1901. Tenterfield has abundant environmental assets, such as Bald Rock and Boonoo Boonoo national parks. This rich environment underpins the area’s tourism sector. Managing these assets will deliver a healthy environment and a strong economy.
Uralla LGA is located on the western edge of the New England Tablelands. Uralla is the main centre with other settlements including Bundarra, Arding, Rocky River, Kingstown, Invergowrie and Kentucky. Uralla provides retail, commercial and community services. It enjoys strong social and economic links with Armidale. Residents are attracted to Uralla for its unique country lifestyle and heritage.
The LGA’s primary rural industries are fine wool and beef production. Boutique industries including vineyards and breweries have helped to establish Uralla as a gastro-tourism destination. Uralla showcases over 50 buildings of historic significance, antique stores, art galleries and specialty stores. Community-led renewable energy projects will support the town’s journey to become a Zero Net Energy Town (Z-NET).
Walcha LGA is located on the south-eastern edge of the New England Tablelands and sits on the Oxley Highway and Thunderbolts Way. Walcha is the focal centre and provides essential retail, commercial and community services to local communities including a modern multi-purpose health service facility and primary and secondary schools. The centre of Nowendoc fulfils local service needs and contributes to the unique local character of the area.
Walcha’s rich basalt soil supports some of the world’s best fine wool as well as beef production and forestry. Walcha has abundant environmental assets, such as Oxley Wild Rivers and Werrikimbe national parks and contains World Heritage-listed rainforest. Iconic visitor experiences such as trout streams and spectacular waterfalls will continue to draw domestic and international tourists, contribute to attractive lifestyles and grow the local economy.
Goal 1: A strong and dynamic regional economy
Goal 2: A healthy environment with pristine waterways
Goal 3: Strong infrastructure and transport networks for a connected future
Goal 4: Attractive and thriving communities
Appendix A: Interim Settlement Planning Principles
Glossary and end notes
Page last updated: 05/09/2019