Economy of New South Wales

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The economy of New South Wales represents a significant proportion of the Australian economy. The economy was valued at $557.9 billion in 2016-17, [1] representing 33.0% of Australia's total GDP. [2]

New South Wales State of Australia

New South Wales is a state on the east coast of Australia. It borders Queensland to the north, Victoria to the south, and South Australia to the west. Its coast borders the Tasman Sea to the east. The Australian Capital Territory is an enclave within the state. New South Wales' state capital is Sydney, which is also Australia's most populous city. In September 2018, the population of New South Wales was over 8 million, making it Australia's most populous state. Just under two-thirds of the state's population, 5.1 million, live in the Greater Sydney area. Inhabitants of New South Wales are referred to as New South Welshmen.

Economy of Australia national economy

The economy of Australia is a large mixed-market economy, with a GDP of A$1.69 trillion as of 2017. In 2018 Australia overtook Switzerland, and became the country with the largest median wealth per adult. Australia's total wealth was AUD$8.9 trillion as of June 2016. In 2016, Australia was the 14th-largest national economy by nominal GDP, 20th-largest by PPP-adjusted GDP, and was the 25th-largest goods exporter and 20th-largest goods importer. Australia took the record for the longest run of uninterrupted GDP growth in the developed world with the March 2017 financial quarter, the 103rd quarter and marked 26 years since the country had a technical recession.


Economy of New South Wales
Sydney skyline at dusk - Dec 2008.jpg
The Sydney Opera House and CBD at dusk from Jeffrey Street, Kirribilli in December 2008.
Currency Australian Dollar (A$ or AUD)
1 July - 30 June
GDP A$557.9 billion - 2016/17 [1]
GDP growth
2.9% (2016-17) [1]
GDP per capita
A$67,841 (2016/17)
Unemployment4.6% (December 2017) [3]
Main industries
Services, mining, industrial and transportation equipment, food processing, chemicals, steel
ExportsA$60.4 billion (2008-2009)
Export goods
coal, Aluminium, Refined petroleum, Copper ores & concentrates, Medicaments (incl veterinary), iron ore, wheat, machinery and transport equipment
Main export partners
Flag of Japan.svg  Japan 32.5%
Flag of South Korea.svg  South Korea 8.6%
Flag of the United States.svg  United States 6.9%
Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China 6.9%
Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand 6.4%
ImportsA$100.8 billion (2008-2009) [4]
Import goods
Medicaments (incl veterinary), Telecom equipment & parts, Passenger motor vehicles, Crude petroleum, Computers, Refined petroleum, Monitors, projectors & TVs, Office machines, Goods vehicles, Medical instruments (incl veterinary)
Main import partners
Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China 22.5%
Flag of the United States.svg  United States 12.7%
Flag of Japan.svg  Japan 7.4%
Flag of Germany.svg  Germany 5.4%
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom 4.0%

All values, unless otherwise stated, are in US dollars.

Economic history

At the time of Federation, New South Wales was a free trading state (as opposed to protectionist) with a broad revenue base including income tax. The state earned more revenue than it needed to run its services. This situation was reversed during World War II when the Commonwealth took responsibility for the collection of income tax. Following the war, the states attempted to re-enter the income tax field but were rebuffed by High Court rulings (Income Tax decisions).

High Court of Australia supreme court

The High Court of Australia is the supreme court in the Australian court hierarchy and the final court of appeal in Australia. It has both original and appellate jurisdiction, the power of judicial review over laws passed by the Parliament of Australia and the parliaments of the states, and the ability to interpret the Constitution of Australia and thereby shape the development of federalism in Australia.

The loss of income tax collection meant NSW became totally dependent on Federal Government funding in order to deliver the services it was constitutionally entitled to do (e.g. health, primary/secondary education, transport). It also forced a greater reliance on indirect taxations such as excise duty on cigarettes, alcohol, and gambling. This was challenged by an individual who argued the constitution forbade the states from collecting taxation in this way. The High Court upheld the complaint and the Commonwealth was forced to collect these excises on behalf of the states.[ citation needed ] Since NSW expends far more than it can ever earn, it has little choice but to comply with Commonwealth demands.[ citation needed ]

Australia's largest economy

NSW has the largest economy in Australia, valued at $558 billion in 2016-17 or about 33% of Australia's GDP. This is one third larger than that of the next State and Sydney alone accounts for almost one quarter of Australia's GDP.

Sydney City in New South Wales, Australia

Sydney is the state capital of New South Wales and the most populous city in Australia and Oceania. Located on Australia's east coast, the metropolis surrounds Port Jackson and extends about 70 km (43.5 mi) on its periphery towards the Blue Mountains to the west, Hawkesbury to the north, the Royal National Park to the south and Macarthur to the south-west. Sydney is made up of 658 suburbs, 40 local government areas and 15 contiguous regions. Residents of the city are known as "Sydneysiders". As of June 2017, Sydney's estimated metropolitan population was 5,131,326, and is home to approximately 65% of the state's population.

The NSW economy is larger than each of the national economies of South Africa, Thailand, Malaysia, Colombia, the Philippines or Ukraine. [5]

South Africa Republic in the southernmost part of Africa

South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded to the south by 2,798 kilometres (1,739 mi) of coastline of Southern Africa stretching along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans; to the north by the neighbouring countries of Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe; and to the east and northeast by Mozambique and Eswatini (Swaziland); and it surrounds the enclaved country of Lesotho. South Africa is the largest country in Southern Africa and the 25th-largest country in the world by land area and, with over 57 million people, is the world's 24th-most populous nation. It is the southernmost country on the mainland of the Old World or the Eastern Hemisphere. About 80 percent of South Africans are of Sub-Saharan African ancestry, divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different African languages, nine of which have official status. The remaining population consists of Africa's largest communities of European (White), Asian (Indian), and multiracial (Coloured) ancestry.

Thailand Constitutional monarchy in Southeast Asia

Thailand, officially the Kingdom of Thailand and formerly known as Siam, is a country at the center of the Southeast Asian Indochinese peninsula composed of 76 provinces. At 513,120 km2 (198,120 sq mi) and over 68 million people, Thailand is the world's 50th largest country by total area and the 21st-most-populous country. The capital and largest city is Bangkok, a special administrative area. Thailand is bordered to the north by Myanmar and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the west by the Andaman Sea and the southern extremity of Myanmar. Its maritime boundaries include Vietnam in the Gulf of Thailand to the southeast, and Indonesia and India on the Andaman Sea to the southwest. Although nominally a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy, the most recent coup in 2014 established a de facto military dictatorship.

Malaysia Federal constitutional monarchy in Southeast Asia

Malaysia is a country in Southeast Asia. The federal constitutional monarchy consists of 13 states and three federal territories, separated by the South China Sea into two similarly sized regions, Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia. Peninsular Malaysia shares a land and maritime border with Thailand in the north and maritime borders with Singapore in the south, Vietnam in the northeast, and Indonesia in the west. East Malaysia shares land and maritime borders with Brunei and Indonesia and a maritime border with the Philippines and Vietnam. Kuala Lumpur is the national capital and largest city while Putrajaya is the seat of federal government. With a population of over 30 million, Malaysia is the world's 44th most populous country. The southernmost point of continental Eurasia, Tanjung Piai, is in Malaysia. In the tropics, Malaysia is one of 17 megadiverse countries, with large numbers of endemic species.

NSW has a diversified and knowledge intensive economy. In Australia it accounts for:

Finance academic discipline studying businesses and investments

Finance is a field that is concerned with the allocation (investment) of assets and liabilities over space and time, often under conditions of risk or uncertainty. Finance can also be defined as the art of money management. Participants in the market aim to price assets based on their risk level, fundamental value, and their expected rate of return. Finance can be split into three sub-categories: public finance, corporate finance and personal finance.

Insurance equitable transfer of the risk of a loss, from one entity to another in exchange for payment

Insurance is a means of protection from financial loss. It is a form of risk management, primarily used to hedge against the risk of a contingent or uncertain loss.

Property, in the abstract, is what belongs to or with something, whether as an attribute or as a component of said thing. In the context of this article, it is one or more components, whether physical or incorporeal, of a person's estate; or so belonging to, as in being owned by, a person or jointly a group of people or a legal entity like a corporation or even a society. Depending on the nature of the property, an owner of property has the right to consume, alter, share, redefine, rent, mortgage, pawn, sell, exchange, transfer, give away or destroy it, or to exclude others from doing these things, as well as to perhaps abandon it; whereas regardless of the nature of the property, the owner thereof has the right to properly use it, or at the very least exclusively keep it.

NSW has the largest manufacturing industry in Australia, contributing $31.4 billion in 2005-06 to the State's economy.[ citation needed ]

The NSW Government has triple-A credit ratings from both Moody's and Standard & Poor's.[ citation needed ]

NSW is home to more than 65% of all Asia Pacific regional headquarters located in Australia, which accounts to more than 600 companies.

About 600 contact centre companies operate 60,000 seats in NSW, 42% of the total for contact centres in Australia. Of all international multilingual contact centres in the Asia Pacific, 32% are in NSW.

Employment in the financial services industry in Sydney is now nearly half the size of London's and more than one-third the size of New York City's.

In Australia NSW is home to:

Growing economy

In 2005-06, just under 39,000 new companies registered in NSW, compared with 38,000 in Victoria and fewer than 25,000 in Queensland.

NSW also has many more companies overall than the other States. Over 510,000 companies are registered in NSW with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, almost 50,000 more than in Victoria and 269,000 more than Queensland.

Investment climate

Business investment in NSW reached $39.5 billion in the 2005-06 financial year, a rise of 9.2% compared with the previous year. Over the same period NSW represented 28% of Australia's total business investment.

Capital spending on machinery and equipment by NSW businesses rose by 8.3% to $20.5 billion, encouraged by high levels of capacity utilisation and strong profitability.

Engineering and commercial building construction reached $14.1 billion in the 2005-06 financial year, an increase of 12.4% over 2004-05.

Businesses in NSW also increased their spending on intangible fixed assets, mostly in computer software and mineral exploration, with an investment of $4.3 billion, up by 7.7% in 2005-06.

Since April 1999, the Department of State and Regional Development (DSRD) has facilitated over $10.1 billion in new private sector investment, and helped to create and retain more than 49,100 jobs. This includes 29,600 jobs and over $6.3 billion worth of investment in regional NSW.


In 2005-06 NSW recorded $17.4 billion or 42 per cent of Australia's total services exports.

In 2005-06, total goods and services exports from NSW amounted to more than $44 billion, with the five largest exports being:

NSW merchandise (goods) exports for 2005-06 were worth A$26.8 billion, up 16.5 per cent on 2004-05.

In 2005-06, manufactured exports from NSW totalled $10.6 billion and accounted for 40% of the State's merchandise exports. Total elaborately transformed manufactures amounted to $7.1 billion in 2005, with significant contributions from medicinal and pharmaceutical products, and professional, scientific and controlling instruments.


Agriculture is spread throughout the New South Wales state, except in the western third. Cattle, sheep and pigs are the predominant types of livestock produced in NSW and they have been present since their importation during the earliest days of European settlement. Economically the state is the most important state in Australia, with about a third of the country's sheep, a fifth of its cattle, and a third of its small number of pigs.

Murray Grey cows and calves Murray Grey cows and calves.JPG
Murray Grey cows and calves

New South Wales produces a large share of Australia's hay, fruit, legumes, lucerne, maize, nuts, wool, wheat, oats, oilseeds (about 51%), poultry, rice (about 99%), [6] vegetables, fishing including oyster farming, and forestry including wood chips. [7] Bananas and sugar are grown chiefly in the Clarence, Richmond and Tweed River areas.

Wools are produced on the Northern Tablelands as well as lambs and beef cattle. The cotton industry is centred in the Namoi Valley in north western New South Wales. On the central slopes there are many orchards with the principal fruits grown being apples, cherries and pears.

Approximately 40,200 ha of vineyards lie across the eastern region of the state with wines produced in the Hunter Valley with the Riverina being the largest wine producer in New South Wales. [8] Australia’s largest and most valuable Thoroughbred horse breeding area is centred on Scone in the Hunter Valley. [9]

See also


Recent Economic Indicators2004/052005/062006/07
Estimated Resident Population6,768,9416,888,0146,967,199
Real Gross State Product growth (%)
Real GSP per head growth (%)
GSP (current prices) (A$m)305,859335,828359,883
Proportion of Australian GDP (%)
Change in real final demand (%)
Unemployment rate (%)

Source: dfat fact sheet

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  3. Commsec (2013). "State of the States" (PDF). Retrieved 22 April 2013.
  4. Market Information and Research Section DFAT (December 2012). "New South Wales (fact sheet)" (PDF). Based on DFAT STARS database and ABS Catalogue Nos 6291.0.55.003, 5220.0, 3101.0 and 5368.0. Retrieved 22 April 2013.
  5. The World Factbook
  6. Agricultural Production Retrieved on 7 March 2009
  7. Agriculture - Overview - Australia Archived 21 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine .
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  9. SMH Travel - Scone Retrieved on 7 March 2009