Major Industry Sections
Agriculture & Agribusiness
The New England Tablelands is home to the fine wool industry, which is globally recognised and is utilised by the world’s top fashion houses. Other primary production includes beef cattle, fat lamb and timber processing.
The North West Slopes and Plains feature many types of cereal crops including wheat, sorghum and sunflowers, together with beef, fat lamb, pork and poultry industries.
Tamworth is the agricultural processing centre for the North West Slopes with abattoirs, poultry processing and a large wheat mill.
Agriculture on the North West Plains expands into large land holdings and production units. Cotton and all types of cereal crops abound both in irrigated and dry land forms.
Narrabri Shire and Moree Plains Shire are recognised as the two most productive agricultural areas in Australia in normal seasons. Both Narrabri and Moree have large processing plants for cereal crops and cotton seed.
As a result of this agricultural base, the region features world-standard research facilities in the three geographic areas based around the centres of Armidale, Tamworth and Narrabri.
Most agricultural industries in the region rely on these facilities to ensure the production of high-standard products and processes. This standard ensures the region is visited by scientists from all around the world to see the latest developments in agriculture.
Major facilities are at Tamworth and Armidale, which feature world-standard flying schools, aircraft maintenance and charter services.
Tamworth airport features QANTASLink maintenance facilities for Dash 8 aircraft, together with companies maintaining general aviation aircraft. The BAE flying school and Australian defence flying facilities operate from the airport, together with general aviation pilot training companies.
Armidale airport is the base for Fleet Helicopters; Edwards Corporate Jet Services and the SuperAir Company operates aerial topdressing activities as well as general aviation maintenance facilities.
The Aircrew Check and Training Company has an office in the Armidale CBD, supplying world wide aviation services.
General aviation services companies are also located at the Inverell, Moree and Narrabri airports.
Manufacturing & Processing
Tamworth is the principal centre for private sector manufacturing and processing. Located there are two meat processing firms, food processing companies and numerous smaller related organisations.
Recently the city was connected to the national gas grid, which should provide additional manufacturing opportunities through a competitive energy source.
Moree, Narrabri and Gunnedah contain facilities which process agricultural products from their respective surrounding agricultural areas.
Inverell is the operating centre for the large Bindaree Beef processing company.
Other regional towns contain smaller processing companies, which all contribute to the overall prosperity of this industry sector.
Natural Resources Development
Coal (in the Gunnedah Shire, Liverpool Plains Shire, Narrabri Shire), sapphires (Inverell Shire and Glen Innes Severn Shire), gold and antimony (Armidale Dumaresq) are valuable domestic and international exports.
The coal industry in the Gunnedah basin is currently experiencing massive investment, with an increased demand for skilled labour. There will be considerable flow on effects to the region as a whole from these developments.
The coal basin around Narrabri contains seams which currently produce enough gas to operate a small power station. Investigations are under way in this area to ascertain additional gas reserves, which could be used for additional capacity in power generation. In addition, extensive exploration for methane gas is underway south and west of Gunnedah.
Tourism is an industry featured across the region, from the rugged gorge country and national parks on the New England Plateau through the slopes, to the rolling plains of the North West.
The emerging food and wine industry will become a growing source of tourists/visitors, along with the established products of regional nature based tourism, traditional and modern architecture and agri tourism.
Transport & Distribution
The region is strategically located to benefit from being dissected north to south by two of Australia’s major highways, the New England in the east, and the Newell in the west.
As a result, a reliable land transport corridor is available to Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and all areas in between and beyond.
The two highways are linked from east to west by the Oxley, Gwydir and Bruxner Highways.
The region is linked to one of the fastest growing areas in Australia (the NSW mid north coast and far north coast) by the extension of the Oxley, Gwydir and Bruxner Highways, as well as the Waterfall Way. The port of Newcastle is connected by the Thunderbolts Way and the New England Highway.
Within the region, a regional road network connects the major centres, and a developing local road network provides all kinds of services to each local government area.
Daily passenger rail services extend from Moree in the west, and Armidale in the east, to Sydney. Freight rail services extend from Moree in the west, and Tamworth in the east, to the Sydney and Newcastle port system, and are utilised for the regions growing export trade.
QANTASLink operate daily return services to Sydney from Armidale, Moree, and Tamworth.
Aeropelican flies from Narrabri to Sydney, and Brindabella have daily services to Brisbane from Armidale, Tamworth and Moree.
Charter air services operate from the major regional airports, with aircraft ranging from single engines through to executive jets.
The Northern Inland educational facilities are numerous and of a high standard. The region contains both government and independent primary and secondary schools.
The New England Institute of TAFE has a decentralised regional presence, utilising the latest technology in the conduct of courses and training to match employers' needs, and has been nationally recognised as a training provider of choice.
The University of New England (UNE) is the oldest regional university in Australia, and has a worldwide reputation as a regional leader in higher learning. Courses are varied, interesting, and of a very high standard, with UNE often making the list of top Australian universities.
The University is also home to world standard research centres.
The University is located in Armidale, which has meant the development of many associated education firms, including the commercial training arm of the university, University of New England Partnerships (UNEP).
UNEP is a regional leader in the education industry, and has established extensive training and education links across Australia.
Engineering & Construction
Major firms are located throughout the region. Some have a traditional agriculture and agribusiness market, while others specialise in urban needs. Many of these firms successfully compete with State and National level competitors.
There is an emerging market for firms that are located in the Gunnedah coal basin, in coal mining and related industries.
Information Technology, Research & Development
This is a developing industry sector, based principally in Armidale, which is the regional education centre.
Globally competitive companies associated with animal genetics, animal breed societies and associated research professions, operate around the world from their base in the Northern Inland.
World competitive educational software is currently being produced by individuals and firms in Armidale. In addition, the recently established information technology cluster in the adjoining town of Uralla provides related services to Australia and beyond.
International standard agricultural research facilities operate principally from the North Western centre of Narrabri. This allows the region to be the locality for research which is a feature of many overseas related tours and export of this knowledge.
Narrabri also is the location for the CSIRO Australian telescope, which is recognised globally by the science profession for space research.