Bega Valley Shire CouncilBega Valley Shire Council

The Bega Valley - Our Place

Welcome to Our Place

The Bega Valley Shire is located at the south-eastern corner of New South Wales, half way between Australia’s two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne and three hours drive from the nation’s capital, Canberra.
Our coastal fringe extends from Wallaga Lake in the north to Cape Howe and the Victorian border in the south. Collectively this 225-kilometre section forms the beautiful Sapphire Coast, the heart of Australia’s Coastal Wilderness.

Our community vision explains our collective aspiration that by working together, the Bega Valley Shire community integrates quality of life, enterprising businesses, sustainable development and conservation of the environment.

We are ... Bega Valley

Basic map of the Bega Valley Shire and hte distance to Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne


There are over 33,000 people that call Bega Valley home. We have grown at a rate faster than predicted, and will grow by a further 5,500 (14%) over the next 20 years.

We are older in age than average, but we have high levels of independence, with more of us fully owning our own homes, and one in four of us actively volunteering.

Less than a third of us are families with children.

Currently fewer of us have Bachelor level education than average, but more of us are completing year  12 and attending university than ever before.

Around half of us work, predominantly in farming, manufacturing, health and social services, retail  and tourism, and a significant proportion of us are retired.

While we enjoy lower rent and mortgage costs than average, our lower than average weekly income means affordability is just as important to us as our city counterparts.

This is ... Bega Valley

Our strengths

  • Food Product Manufacturing
  • Tourism
  • Healthcare and Social Assistance
  • Natural assets and liveability
  • Intellectual and cultural capital
  • Attractive retirement destination
  • Low cost of housing
  • Location

We have a growing economy, with over $1.5 billion annual Gross Regional Product, over $645 million in exports each year and nearly 3,000 local businesses.

Our main industries are farming, particularly dairy and the associated cheese manufacturing industry in Bega; commercial fishing, especially in Eden; and tourism along much of the coast. The key industrial precincts are in North Bega, Eden and South Pambula and main retail areas in the town centres of Bega, Eden and Merimbula.

We are a regional centre for schools and higher education institutions. There are currently 18 primary and four high schools which include a mixture of private and public. The University of Wollongong operates a campus in Bega which offers courses in Arts, Commerce, Education, Health and Behavioural Sciences and Business. In addition, vocational courses and trade skills are offered by the TAFE Illawarra campus also in Bega.

Our long stretches of coastline are a tourism draw card. Merimbula, Eden, Bermagui and Tathra are major tourist centres and typically experience a threefold boost in their populations during the peak summer period, with over 150,000 guests checking-in to local accommodation in December alone. On average 880,000 people visit Bega Valley annually spending around $400 million each year, more than half are domestic overnight visitors.

Bega Valley Shire Council manages over $1.45 billion in critical assets that allow visitors and community alike to live, work and play in this beautiful part of the world.

Statistics ... Bega Valley


Bega Valley

Population 2017 33,253
Estimated population 2036 ( 38,840
Forecast population increase by 2036 ( >14%
Median age 51

Income and Expenditure


Median weekly household income 986
Monthly mortgage repayments 1,343
Monthly rent 1,086

How we live


Couples with children 20.0
One parent families 8.7
Couples without children 32.4
Live alone 27.9
Group household 2.2
Other households 8.8



Number of dwellings 17,449
Separate House 82.7%
Own home outright 45.5%



Completed Bachelor Degree level and above 15.0
Completed Advanced Diploma and Diploma level 8.3
Completed a Certificate III or IV 19.6

Health and Helping


Volunteering 25.9
Need assistance with core activities aged 65 plus 16.5



Public transport to work 0.7

Major Employing Sectors


Dairy Cattle Farming  
Dairy Product Manufacturing  
Health Care and Social Assistance  
Retail Trade  

Top 5 Industries (output)


Construction 460.1
Manufacturing 429.8
Real Estate 264.0
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing 228.2
Health Care and Social Assistance 187.8
Source NIEIR  


Population 33,253*
Total Employment 14,816**
Unemployment Rate 5.2%
Participation Rate 47.0%
* ABS Census 2016
** Department of Employment Small Business ARea Labour market Estimates 2017

Other Economic Stats


Gross Regional Product 1.52b*
Value of Exports $645.6m**
Local Businesses 2,890***
* National Institute of Economic and Industry Research 2016
** National Institute of Economic and Industry Research 2015/16
*** ABS 2016

Agricultural Production


Milk 63% $26.5 million
Livestock 32% $23.5 million
Source: 2010/11 ABS  



Annual contribution to local economy $400 million
Number of visitors annually $880,000
Source: Tourism Research Australia 2016/17  


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