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Economic Development

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Located on the doorstep of the Nation’s Capital, Yass Valley boasts a modern and well renowned food and wine scene, numerous education options, employment opportunities, medical and general services, including a hospital, three large supermarkets, sporting facilities, and housing opportunities well below the median house price of nearby Canberra. All this, combined with friendly and helpful locals, stunning landscapes and natural wonderlands, makes the Yass Valley one of the best places to live, work and invest within the region. 

The country way of life is popular with Canberran’s seeking space and a rural lifestyle. With a population of just over 16,500 people, which is largely composed of young families with higher than average education and income levels, the Yass Valley enjoys strong and consistent population growth of around two per cent each year and one of the lowest unemployment rates in Australia.

The Yass Valley was settled by pastoralists in the 1820’s, following the expeditions of Hume and Hovell, which eventually led to the construction of the present day Hume Highway, connecting Sydney and Melbourne. Yass has long been a stopover for travellers and tourists and the region is renowned for producing fine wool and lamb.

Today, Yass Valley is home to much of the Canberra Wine district, with over 40 vineyards, many with cellar doors. Boasting numerous fine food producers, niche agricultural products and a variety of artisans and craftspeople, the community abounds with creative talent. 

Yass Valley enjoys one of the strongest economies in regional NSW, driven primarily by agriculture, tourism and the incomes earned by residents working in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). As a result of the availability of high paying jobs within commuting distance, Yass Valley enjoys a very low unemployment rate of 2.6 per cent, well below the average for regional NSW (5.4 per cent). 

Residents of Yass Valley are more highly educated than the average Australian and earn higher average incomes compared to both NSW and Australia. Over 50 per cent of Yass Valley workers travel to work outside the region on a daily basis with over 4,100 people commuting to jobs, predominately in the ACT. Those commuting are primarily employed in the public sector, construction industry and professional, scientific and technical services sectors. Within the local government area, the greatest number of people are employed in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector followed by accommodation and food services, then construction sectors.

As a result of the strength of the local economy, Yass Valley ranked 18th out of over 150 Local Government Areas for the lowest levels of disadvantage and is the second highest in regional NSW. 

Yass Valley offers many business opportunities across the region for locals and newcomers to the area. The competitive advantage is location, just 45 minutes from Canberra, and a three hour drive from Sydney, the area is very well connected at the junction of five main highways, including the Hume and Federal Highways linking the region to Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra.

The Gross Regional Product (GDP) is $0.69 billion for Yass Valley with the major importing sector being manufacturing and the major exporting sector being agriculture, forestry and fishing. Food and wine is a growth area for the region with data from a study undertaken by Tourism Research Australia noting that 12% of people interviewed listed the Canberra Wine District, of which Yass Valley is part, as a top NSW food and wine destination.

A variety of industries have seen business success here including agriculture, food and wine, retail, hospitality, tourism and business services. Yass Valley – it’s good for business. 

Economic Development is a key priority of the Yass Valley Community Strategic Plan. Council's Economic Development Manager’s role is to promote Yass Valley as an attractive place to live, work and invest and to provide support and information to businesses and potential investors. The Economic Development Manager can provide businesses with a range of services including:

  • Market analysis information.
  • Information on setting up a business in Yass Valley.
  • Advice on potential business locations.
  • Access to grants including assistance with applying for state and federal government grants.
  • Access to small business advisors and training.
  • Networking and information on training and educational opportunities. 

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