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March 2012 e-brief 7/2012 Page 1 of 24 The Murrumbidgee and Murray Regions: An Economic Profile by John Wilkinson and Daniel Montoya 1 INTRODUCTION The Murrumbidgee and Murray regions are one of Australia's recognised food bowls, growing and processing a significant proportion of all fruit and vegetables in NSW. For example, in 2005-06 the Murrumbidgee and Murray regions produced 66% and 28% respectively of citrus fruit in
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    March 2012 e-brief 7/2012 Page 1 of 24 The Murrumbidgee and Murray Regions: An Economic Profile by John Wilkinson and Daniel Montoya 1 INTRODUCTION The Murrumbidgee and Murray regions are one of Australia's recognised food bowls, growing and processing a significant proportion of all fruit and vegetables in NSW. For example, in 2005-06 the Murrumbidgee and Murray regions produced 66% and 28% respectively of citrus fruit in the State. 1  Over the years these regions have faced significant challenges. Recently, a major part of the debate concerning the Murrumbidgee and Murray regions has focused on the potential economic, social and environmental implications of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. 2011 saw the publication of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority's (MDBA) draft plan. While the evidence to date suggests that, in the long-run, the overall social, economic and environmental benefits of the Basin Plan will outweigh the costs, it is the case that some towns in the Basin may face more significant adjustment. These include smaller towns in the NSW Murray catchment and the central and western parts of the Murrumbidgee catchment. 2  Ironically perhaps, after experiencing a severe drought during 2003-2008, the Riverina is presently confronted by major flooding. Previous economic profiles published by the Research Service have been focussed on single statistical regions (the Hunter and the Illawarra). In this case the regions of the Murrumbidgee and Murray are treated as a combined entity. This follows the approach taken in the Labour Market Information Portal (LMIP) of the Commonwealth Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR), which contains the most recent figures on employment by occupation. 3  That approach, in turn, is based on a decision of the Australian Bureau of Statistics to treat the Murrumbidgee and the Murray as a single entity for labour force data purposes. 4  Notwithstanding its economic significance to the Murray region, it is also the case that ABS statistical data is not amenable to incorporating the border town of Wodonga into an economic profile of the region. 2 THE MURRUMBIDGEE AND MURRAY REGIONS  –  URBAN AND RURAL PROFILES 2.1 Murrumbidgee and Murray Regions: Urban LGAs Out of the 13 LGAs that form the Murrumbidgee region, and the 12  NSW Parliamentary Library Research Service Page 2 of 24   Murray Statistical Region Murrumbidgee Statistical Region Source: ABS,  Regional Statistics, New South Wales , 1362.1, 2004   LGAs that form the Murray region, only one LGA in each region is urban: Wagga Wagga in the Murrumbidgee and Albury in the Murray. In 2010, out of a regional population of 148,154, Wagga Wagga had a population of 63,500 (42.9%).  E-Brief The Murrumbidgee and Murray Regions: An Economic Profile   Page 3 of 24 During the same year, out of a regional population of 115,537, Albury had a population of 51,112 (44.2%). Their populations, as a percentage of a combined Murrumbidgee-Murray population, are as follows: Wagga Wagga and Albury: Populations (as % of Combined Murrumbidgee-Murray Regions) 2010 5   Wagga Wagga 63,500 (24.1%)  Albury 51,112 (19.4%) 2.2 Murrumbidgee and Murray Regions: Rural LGAs The rural LGAs in the Murrumbidgee and Murray regions, and their populations as a percentage of their respective regions, are set out below: Rural LGAs in the Murrumbidgee Region: Population (2010) 6   Population % of Region Griffith 25,879 17.5% Leeton 11,929 8.1% Cootamundra 7,729 5.2% Junee 6,298 4.3% Narrandera 6,280 4.2% Temora 6,216 4.2% Coolamon 4,233 2.9% Gundagai 3,902 2.6% Hay 3,349 2.3% Lockhart 3,318 2.2% Carrathool 2,964 2% Murrumbidgee 2,557 1.7% Rural LGAs in the Murray Region: Population (2010) 7   Population % of Region Corowa 11,773 10.2% Gr. Hume 10,447 9% Berrigan 8,644 7.5% Deniliquin 7,633 6.6% Murray 7,319 6.3% Wentworth 7,120 6.2% Wakool 4,389 3.8% Balranald 2,476 2.2% Conargo 1,689 1.5% Jerilderie 1,674 1.4% Urana 1,261 1.1% 2.3 Geographical and Commercial Features: Murrumbidgee LGAs The geographical and commercial features of the region's 13 LGAs are listed, in descending population order, as follows: Wagga Wagga . Wagga Wagga LGA covers an area of 4,825 square kilometres. 8  It is the principal commercial centre of the Murrumbidgee region and, in 2009, hosted more than 4,900 businesses. Major employers in Wagga Wagga   include Cargill, Charles Sturt University, Heinz, Royal Australian Air Force (Forest Hill Air Training Centre), Royal Australian Army (Kapooka Training Centre), Wagga Base Hospital and Wagga City Council. 9   Griffith . Griffith spans an area of 1,640 square kilometres. 10  In 2007 there were 3,138 businesses. 11  Major employers include Baiada, Casella, De Bortoli, McWilliams and Nugan. 12   Leeton . Leeton occupies an area of 1,167 square kilometres. 13  Major employers include Baiada, Kirin (Berri) and Itoham (Rockdale Abattoir). 14   Cootamundra . Cootamundra spans an area of 1,523 square kilometres. 15  The largest employer (with 200 staff) is the G.M. Scott Abattoir. Junee . Junee covers an area of 2,031 square kilometres. 16  Significant employers include Junee Beef and Charles Sturt University. Narrandera . Narrandera occupies an area of 4,117 square kilometres. 17  Significant employers include Coles, Essential Energy, Grants Cypress Sawmilling, Manildra Group and Narrandera Shire Council. 18    NSW Parliamentary Library Research Service Page 4 of 24 Temora . Temora spans an area of 2,802 square kilometres. 19  Principal employers include the BFB-Cargill Grainstores, the Cargill feedlot and Moses and Sons wool traders. Coolamon . Coolamon covers an area of 2,432 square kilometres. 20  The largest employer is the Coolamon Shire Council. Gundagai . Gundagai occupies an area of 2,458 square kilometres. 21  The biggest employer is Gundagai Meat Processors. Hay . Hay spans an area of 11,329 square kilometres. 22  The larger employers in the shire are: M.P. Barich Shearing Services; A.J. Morrison Shearing Services; E.M. Schiller Shearing Services; and Uardry Station. 23   Lockhart . Lockhart covers an area of 2,895 square kilometres. 24  The largest employer is the Lockhart shire Council. Carrathool . Carrathool occupies an area of 18,939 square kilometres. 25   Murrumbidgee . Murrumbidgee is the smallest LGA in terms of population and spans an area of 3,507 square kilometres. 26  Significant employers include Murrumbidgee Irrigation, SunRice, Baiada and the Murrumbidgee Shire Council. 2.4 Geographical and Commercial Features: Murray LGAs The geographical and commercial features of the region's 12 LGAs are listed, in descending order of population, as follows: Albury . Albury LGA covers an area of 306 square kilometres. 27  Albury is the principal commercial centre of the Murray region. It hosts more than 4,000 businesses. In 2008-09 the combined regional product of Albury, combined with its Victorian twin city Wodonga, amounted to $4.8 billion. 28  For the purposes of this e-brief it is enough to acknowledge the interdependence of the two cities, in terms of employment in industry and commerce, the provision of tertiary educational institutions and in the sphere of health, with the establishment of Albury Wodonga Health in 2009. Despite the proposed merger of the cities, suggested by Bob Carr and Steve Bracks in 2001, 29  Albury and Wodonga remain for the most part administratively distinct, with the 2009 Draft Murray Regional Strategy encapsulating this complex cross-border relationship in this way: In many respects, the ‘twin towns’ on the Murray River often have a high degree of interdependence in terms of services, employment, transport links and retail catchments.  As separate jurisdictions, however, the state and local government service provision and planning systems are different. 30   Corowa . Corowa spans an area of 2,329 square kilometres. 31  The principal towns in the LGA are Corowa, Mulwala and Howlong. Major employers in the LGA are the Corowa-based Rivalea Piggery (Australia's biggest pork producer, employing 650 people) and the Mulawala-based munitions producer Thales (employing 420 people). 32   Greater Hume . Greater Hume occupies an area of 5,749 square kilometres. 33  Holbrook is the administrative centre. Other sizeable towns are Culcairn, Henty, Holbrook, Jindera and Walla Walla. Significant employers include Kotzur Engineering,
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