|Avg. Annual Growth (2006-11)
|Growth Rate 2006-11
||4,530 km sq.
|Key Industry Sectors
||Health Care and Social Assistance, Retail Trade and Public Administration and Safety
||Nowra, Bomaderry, Milton/Ulladulla, St Georges Basin, Culburra, Sussex Inlet
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE AREA
The Shoalhaven Local Government Area (LGA) is the southern
most sub-region of the Illawarra. It’s 4,660 square kilometre
area stretches from the rural township of Berry in the north
some 85 kilometres south to the harbourside township of Ulladulla.
The region is bounded by the Illawarra Escarpment to the west
and the Pacific Ocean to the east. Its topography combines
mountainous terrain, flat coastal plain, bays, inlets, lakes
The spectacular natural environment is a major attraction
of the Shoalhaven area. Within its boundaries are 109 beaches,
300,000 hectares of National Park and State Forest land. Jarvis
Bay and Kangaroo Valley are popular natural tourist attractions.
The Shoalhaven River provides a significant natural water
resource to Shoalhaven Water and Sydney Water.
Since the 1970’s the Shoalhaven LGA has experienced
strong population growth. According to the 2011 Census, the population was 92,812 and had a growth rate of 5.0% since 2006. The
Shoalhaven’s average annual population growth rate during
the 1990’s has consistently remained above the state
average. From 2006 to 2011, the average annual growth rate
of the Shoalhaven was 1.0%.
Projections by the NSW Department of Urban Affairs and Planning
predict that the Shoalhaven’s population will continue
to grow strongly over the next twenty years, but the rate
of growth will plateau. Forecasts based on medium level growth
indicate that the population of the Shoalhaven will reach
113,500 by the year 2021, a figure which would represent an
increase on the current estimated population of around 22.2%.
The 2011 Census revealed that the Shoalhaven had a 36,646
person strong labour force. Of this number 33,846 persons
were employed. The most significant job-generating industries
in the Shoalhaven are health care and social assistance, retail trade and public administration and safety.
Combined these industries account for approximately 37.5% of
the entire workforce.
Manufacturing, defence, tourism and agriculture represent
the core income generating economic activities for the Shoalhaven
The agricultural sector remains an important economic activity
in the region. The gross value of produce in the 2001 season
was $34.7M from such rural activities as dairy farming, nursery
products, seeds and cut flowers.
The region’s retail sector is thriving, with a number
of major retail and supermarket chains such as Kmart, Woolworths and Coles already operating in the area
and considerable new investment taking place.
According to the ABS, as of 2011 there were 6,748
business counts operating in the Shoalhaven LGA. This healthy growth in new
business is largely due to the strong emphasis placed on economic
development by Shoalhaven City Council, which has successfully
encouraged a significant number of firms to relocate or set
up in the area.
Location and Lifestyle
The Shoalhaven’s beautiful natural environment plays
a central role in the quality of life of the local community.
The region’s temperate coastal climate, rich array of
native flora and fauna, many natural attractions, thriving
commercial and retail sectors and abundance of raw materials
make the Shoalhaven an appealing place to live and work.
Regional Manufacturing Centre
The Shoalhaven has developed a dynamic manufacturing industry.
With a total of 317 manufacturing business counts throughout
the region in 2011, the Shoalhaven has more than doubled the
size of its manufacturing industry over the past 25 years.
The provision of inexpensive, high-quality serviced industrial
land and a proactive Council have been important factors in
attracting manufacturers to the region. The success of the
Shoalhaven’s manufacturers is also the product of a regional
emphasis on product and service quality and strong export
performance. There is quite a diverse range of export oriented
products produced in the region including yachts, chemicals,
paper, food products and building products.
Thriving Defence Industry
Many internationally recognised Defence contractors operate
in the Shoalhaven including Kaman, Boeing, British Aerospace,
Air Target Services and Air Affairs. The Department of Defence
operates a number of facilities in the Shoalhaven LGA, the
largest being HMAS Albatross just south of Nowra. In all,
the Defence industry contributes approximately $60M in annual
salaries and 2000 jobs to the local economy. The Defence Department’s
capital expenditure over the next few years is estimated to
be around $150M.
The Albatross Aviation Technology Park (AATP) currently being
developed at HMAS Albatross is going to provide a specific
location from which aviation technology enterprises can service
domestic and export markets. The AATP presents a great opportunity
for investors, with about 30 new industrial sites, all with
access to airfield facilities.
Shoalhaven Education Precinct
The education and training services and facilities available
in the Shoalhaven represent a valuable asset for the region.
The Shoalhaven Education Precinct - a new strategic development
combining the efforts and resources of Shoalhaven City Council,
the University of Wollongong, the Illawarra institute of Technology
and the State Government - is providing the region with new
economic development opportunities. At the centre of development
is a new joint campus for the University of Wollongong and
Illawarra Institute of Technology at Mundamia, to the west
The existing University Campus at Berry and TAFE Colleges
at Bomaderry and Ulladulla provide students and industry with
the opportunity to learn and train locally. The region already
possesses a strong skill base in trades and clerical personnel
and the expanding educational facilities will provide an enormous
boost to the pool of tertiary-trained persons residing in
The Shoalhaven has a very strong natural resource base including
rich agricultural land, forests and vast waterways. Although
dairy farming remains the dominant agricultural activity in
the Shoalhaven, new value-added resource based industries
are emerging. Strong growth potential exists in niche industries
such as ecotourism, aquaculture, berry farming, viniculture,
organic farming and turf farming.
The Shoalhaven has the perfect attributes to be a very popular
tourist destination – warm climate, an abundance of natural
attractions, a myriad of outdoor recreational options, close
proximity to the huge domestic markets of Sydney and Canberra
and a healthy tourism infrastructure. It is no wonder the
region is continually the most visited tourist destination
in the state. Plenty of opportunity exists for development,
particularly within the accommodation sector where there is
a shortage of 3-5 star hotel establishments.
The firm economic base provided by manufacturing, defence,
agriculture, education and tourism will continue to grow.
However, there is an increasingly export-oriented culture
within the Shoalhaven’s business community, which has
directed new industry focus on to niche and value-added products
Last Updated: January 2013