Bordering Queensland, Victoria and South Australia, the region covers 323,477 km2 (around 41% of total land area in Regional NSW). It has less than 1% of the total NSW population (or 2% of the population of Regional NSW). Most local government areas in the region are small communities of less than 5,000 people.
Broken Hill, Cobar, Wentworth and Bourke are the major towns in the Far West. Broken Hill has for many years been the centre of mining activity in Australia and is the birthplace of BHP Billiton. The region is rich in mineral resources – such as zinc, lead, silver and, more recently, mineral sands. Mining continues to play a major role in the economy.
With a semi-arid climate across much of the region, the Far West is also home to a natural landscape that includes wetlands and bushlands. The Darling and Murray Rivers and Menindee Lakes allow irrigated farming, helping to drive the growing agricultural sector. The region strives to capitalise on its diverse agricultural production opportunities.
The Far West is steeped in culture, history and heritage. Attractions include the opal mining towns of White Cliffs and Lightning Ridge, an historic river port at Bourke and national parks such as Culgoa, Sturt, Gundabooka and Mungo. Mungo is home to artefacts up to 50,000 years old. Domestic visitor trips to the region grew between March 2012 and March 2013.
The region has a proportionately large Indigenous population (14.5% compared with 4.4% for Regional NSW).
In 2013, the Far West generated $2.9 billion in Gross Regional Product (GRP), representing 2% of Regional NSW's total GRP ($137.7 million).
Download the Far West Economic Profile