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The economic impact of national parks in the NSW wheat-sheep belt

The NSW wheat-sheep belt encompasses 43 local government areas in the central area of the State between the Queensland and Victorian borders. The region covers approximately 32% of the State, with a population of over 500,000 people. The region contains around 77 national parks, nature reserves, state conservation areas and historic sites.

Summary of findings

Around 285,000 visitors each year visit wheat-sheep belt parks and reserves. Approximately 262,000 (92%) of these park visitors are tourists from other parts of NSW, Australia and overseas.

OEH commissioned the Centre for Agricultural and Regional Economics to undertake a study on the impact of national parks on the regional economies of the northern, central and southern zones of the NSW wheat-sheep belt. This study estimated the economic contribution from OEH park management and from spending by park visitors who come from outside the region, as shown in the table below.

The study found that OEH expenditure contributes $7.5 million per year in direct and indirect regional value-added activity. About $5.3 million a year of this comprises household income. OEH expenditure directly and indirectly generates the equivalent of 138 jobs in the region.

 

Regional economic activity associated with...

 

OEH expenditure (p.a.)

Park visitor expenditure (p.a.)

Regional value-added activity

Northern

$2.3M

$2.8m

Central

$3.3m

$5.1m

Southern

$1.9m

$0.9m

Total wheat-sheep belt

$7.5m

$8.8m

Household income

Northern

$1.6m

$1.3m

Central

$2.3m

$2.4m

Southern

$1.3m

$0.5m

Total wheat-sheep belt

$5.3m

$4.1m

Employment

Northern

47 jobs

51 jobs

Central

56 jobs

88 jobs

Southern

35 jobs

17 jobs

Total wheat-sheep belt

138 jobs

157 jobs

Figures may not add due to rounding

The study indicates that visitors to parks and reserves in the wheat-sheep belt contribute $8.8 million per year in direct and indirect regional value-added activity, which includes $4.1 million income as household income. Visitor spending helps generate the equivalent of 157 jobs in the region.

OEH-managed parks and reserves in the wheat-sheep belt help create the equivalent of approximately 295 local jobs.

Document to download

Page last updated: 10 June 2011