Central West and Orana

Located in the heart of NSW, Central West and Orana is the second largest region in the State. Its rich natural resources make it a major mining and agricultural area. Agriculture is the main employer in rural areas, while the economy of the local government areas of Lithgow, Mid-Western and Blayney are driven by mining.

Over 40% of the region's almost 277,000 people live in the growing urban centres of Dubbo, Bathurst and Orange. The population of Central West and Orana is expected to grow relatively slowly, reaching around 300,000 by 2031. The ratio of the population over 65, relative to working age people, is expected to rise steeply – from 26.5% in 2011 to 42.7% in 2031. Around 8% of the population is Indigenous (compared with 4% for Regional NSW).

The major service and industry centres in the region are well connected by road and rail, facilitating domestic and international trade. Reduction in freights costs and improvements in productivity will further increase the region's competitiveness. Central West and Orana has a growing tourism industry. Visitors spent around $1.2 billion in the region the year to March 2014. Major tourist attractions include the Warrumbungle National Park, Mudgee wineries and the Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

The region's agribusiness could benefit from a rise in the global demand for food. Mining is also expected to continue as a major economic driver.

In 2013, the Central West and Orana region contributed $16 billion to Gross Regional Product (GRP), representing 12% of Regional NSW's total GRP ($137.7 billion).

Download the Central West and Orana Economic Profile