The Parkes Shire boasts a robust and diverse economy, with a Gross Regional Product (GRP) of over $900 million per year. The key industries of mining and agriculture greatly support the local economy. However, the region is experiencing growth within the transport, logistics, retail and public administration sectors.
As Parkes welcomes the Special Activation Precinct, the region expects a further boost in value-add agriculture, critical minerals and resource recovery. Parkes has created opportunities for industries to capitalise off, further emphasised by the ongoing support from private and public sector investment.
Parkes Shire is located in one of the NSW's most productive agriculture regions, with the Central West accounting for 20% of NSW's wheat and barley and nearly 30% of the state's oats, canola and a variety of pulses. Agriculture is an integral part of our community as it provides the most significant industry output and value-add to the Shire's economy. Value-add agriculture has been deemed a suitable future industry within the Parkes Special Activation Precinct due to the Shire's active role within the industry and the specialised workforce that has been developed.
Health care and social assistance
Health Care and Social Assistance is a significant employment industry across the state. Parkes Shire is no exception, with just under 15% of the Shire workforce employed by the sector. Parkes Shire's Health Care and Social Assistance industry experienced the greatest increase in total employment between 2015/16 to 2020/21, which is expected to continue to increase in coming years.
Public administration and safety
The Public Administration and Safety sector employs just under 7% of Parkes' economy, sitting above the state average for this sector. With vocation and tertiary education options provided by TAFE western and the Country Universities Centre, Parkes is an ideal location for various government departments due to the increasing skilled talent. Several Government agencies, including Transport for NSW and the Regional Growth Development Corporation, have taken advantage of the Shire's workforce and location by introducing employment hubs.
Transport and logistics
Parkes Shire is advantageously positioned near the country's major freight lines. Located at the crossroads of the transcontinental rail and the Inland Rail Project enables efficient access to local and national markets. As a result, Parkes is anticipated to become the largest inland port in Australia. Investors are eagerly moving to the Shire to capitalise off this growing sector.
As Australia and the world work to reduce carbon emissions but continue to experience increased energy supply demand, there is an increased opportunity for renewable energy production within Australia. Parkes is taking advantage of this emerging opportunity within the renewable energy sector by developing a renewable energy cluster within the Parkes Special Activation Precinct. Parkes has a growing specialised workforce within the energy production industry by introducing energy processing and production facilities within the SAP.
Parkes Shire has a strong mining history dating back to the 19th century when several gold mines sprang up, with thousands of people moving to the town. Though the gold rush era has passed, mining remains a significant industry in our Shire and the wider region. CMOC Northparkes Mines undertakes copper and gold mining activities 27km outside Parkes in the village of Goonumbla, part of a volcanic belt in the Central Lachlan Orogen of NSW. The central west is home to a skilled mining, resources and metallurgical workforce supporting the existing minerals industry.