This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages) This article relies excessively on references to primary sources. Please improve this article by adding secondary or tertiary sources. Find sources: "Economy of New South Wales" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (April 2008) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Economy of New South Wales" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (July 2023) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. The specific problem is: some sentences have unclear meaning, WP:MOS issues. Please help improve this article if you can. (July 2023) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

The economy of New South Wales represents a significant proportion of the Australian economy. The economy was valued at A$660.6 billion in 2021-22,[1] representing 30.6% of Australia's total GDP.[1]

Economy of New South Wales
The Sydney Opera House and CBD at dusk from Jeffrey Street, Kirribilli in December 2008.
CurrencyAustralian Dollar (A$ or AUD)
1 July - 30 June
GDP growth
1.8% (2021/22) [1]
GDP per capita
A$81,612 (2021/22)
Unemployment3.6% (August 2023) [2]
Main industries
Services, mining, industrial and transportation equipment, food processing, chemicals, steel
ExportsA$120.3 billion (2021/22) [1]
Export goods
Coal, Gold, Wheat, Aluminium, Refined Petroleum, Beef, Meat (Excl. Beef), Medical Instruments, Measuring & analysing instruments, Oil-seeds & oleaginous fruits (Soft).
Main export partners
 Japan 28.7%
 South Korea 9.1%
 Taiwan 7.8%
 China 5.9%
 United States 5%
ImportsA$187.1 billion (2021/22) [3]
Import goods
Telecom equipment & parts, Refined petroleum, Computers, Medicaments (incl veterinary), Goods vehicles
Main import partners
 China 29.7%
 United States 10.5%
 Japan 5.0%
 South Korea 4.7%
 Germany 4.5%

All values, unless otherwise stated, are in US dollars.

Economic history

Aboriginal Australians generally lived within a hunter-gatherer economic system. The European settlement of New South Wales began in 1788 as a convict economy, with human capital hired out to private entrepreneurs, and government and the military dominating the colony.[4][5] Successive commodity booms (and busts) in whaling, sealing, wool, gold and wheat characterised the 19th century and fostered a thriving colonial capitalism.


At the time of Federation in 1901, New South Wales was a free-trading state (as opposed to protectionist) with a broad revenue-base including income tax. The state earned more revenue than it needed to run its services. This situation reversed during World War II (1939-1945) when the Commonwealth took responsibility for the collection of income tax. Following the war, the states attempted to re-enter the income-tax field but were rebuffed by High Court rulings (Income Tax decisions).

The loss of income-tax collection meant NSW became totally dependent on Federal Government funding in order to deliver the services it was constitutionally entitled to do (e.g. health, primary/secondary education, transport). It also forced a greater reliance on indirect taxes - such as excise duty on cigarettes, alcohol, and gambling. This was challenged[when?] by an individual[who?] who argued that the constitution forbade the states from collecting taxation in this way. The High Court upheld the complaint and the Commonwealth was forced to collect these excises on behalf of the states.[citation needed] Since NSW expends far more than it can ever earn,[citation needed] it has little choice but to comply with Commonwealth demands.[citation needed]

Australia's largest economy

NSW has the largest economy of any state in Australia, valued at $660.6 billion in 2021-22 or approximately 30.6% of Australia's GDP.[1] Service industries make up the majority of the gross state product (GSP) at 71.8% in the 2012-23 Fiscal year. [6]

The NSW Economy alone would place itself 37th largest economy in the world, above countries such as Denmark, South Africa, and New Zealand.[6] Per Capita it places 19th, beating Germany, the UAE, The United Kingdom, and New Zealand.[6]

NSW has a diversified and knowledge intensive economy. In the 2012-13 Fiscal year, it accounted for:[7]

Sydney is home to 42% of Australia's top 500 companies, and is the Asia-Pacific headquarters for over 600 multinational companies.[8]

The state boasts a highly trained multilingual workforce, with more than half of its residents aged 15–74 tertiary qualified, and 22% of the population speaking another language than English at home. [8]

In 2019-2023 just over 116,000 new companies registered in NSW, compared with just under 100,000 in Victoria and fewer than 50,000 in Queensland.[9] NSW is home to more than half of Australia's fintech startups.[10][11]

NSW also has the largest number of total companies registered at 786,403 compared to 630,888 in Victoria and 443,729 in Queensland.[9]

While the Greater Sydney area contributes to the majority of the NSW economy, regional NSW produces one fifth of the states total GSP.[12] A large portion of this is dedicated to agriculture with 81% of all NSW land dedicated to agricultural use.[13]

Future Investment

In 2021 the government department 'Investment NSW' was created with the purpose to:[14]

As of September 2023, Investment NSW lists priority sectors as:[15]

The 2023-24 NSW budget shows a commitment to continued investment into essential services, Education, Transport infrastructure. Along with a major focus on reducing state debt after a major increase from 2019 due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.[16]


A bulk carrier entering the Port of Newcastle, New South Wales, 2009

In 2021-22, NSW recorded A$31.1 billion or 51% of Australia's total services exports.[17]

In 2021-22, total goods and services exports from NSW amounted to $120.3 billion, with the five largest exports being:[17]

NSW goods exports for 2021-22 were worth A$89.2 billion, while services exports were worth A$31.1 billion. While goods imports for the same time period were worth A$150.9 billion, and services imports worth A$36.1 billion. Meaning in 2021-22 NSW imported A$66.7 billion more in total than it exported. This total accounts for 20.2% of total Australian exports, and 40.6% of Australian imports.[17]


See also: Agriculture in Australia

Agriculture is spread throughout the eastern two-thirds of New South Wales.[18]

Wheat is the most extensive crop in the state by hectare[19] amounting to 39% of the continent's harvest.[20][21] As such the Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici (Pgt) strain Ug99 is a tremendous forward looking concern and Plant Health Australia, Grains Research & Development Corporation (GRDC), and the Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre have already begun preparing for its arrival.[22] Sydney is a major port for the export of Australian wheat.[23] DPI is concerned about foreign biotypes of wheat pathogens carrying virulence genes not yet a burden for Australians, including Ug99.[24]

Pgt standard race 126 was the most common race here from 1929 to 1941, as it was for the whole of Australia.[25] First detected on Tasmania in 1954, standard race 21 was the most common race by the next year in the southern part of this state, Victoria, and Tasmania.[25]

Murray Grey cows and calves

Cattle, sheep and pigs are the predominant types of livestock produced in NSW and they have been present since their importation during the earliest days of European settlement. Economically the state is the most important state in Australia, with about one-third of the country's sheep, one-fifth of its cattle, and one-third of its small number of pigs. New South Wales produces a large share of Australia's hay, fruit, legumes, lucerne, maize, nuts, wool, wheat, oats, oilseeds (about 51%), poultry, rice (about 99%),[26] vegetables, fishing including oyster farming, and forestry including wood chips.[27] Bananas and sugar are grown chiefly in the Clarence, Richmond and Tweed River areas. Wool is produced on the Northern Tablelands as well as prime lambs and beef cattle.[28]

The cotton industry is centred in the Namoi Valley in northwestern New South Wales.[29]

On the central slopes, there are many orchards, with the principal fruits grown being apples, cherries and pears. However, the fruit industry is threatened by the Queensland fruit fly (Bactrocera tryoni) which causes more than $28.5 million a year in damage to Australian crops, primarily in Queensland and northern New South Wales.[30]

Approximately 40,200 hectares (99,000 acres) of vineyards lie across the eastern region of the state with wines produced in the Hunter Valley with the Riverina being the largest wine producer in New South Wales.[31] Australia's largest and most valuable Thoroughbred horse breeding area is centred on Scone in the Hunter Valley.[32] Powdery Mildew (Erysiphe necator, syn. Uncinula necator), Downy Mildew (Plasmopara viticola), and Gray Mold (Botrytis cinerea) are common fungal diseases of grape here.[33] Fungicides are commonly used in this crop and so fungicide resistance and resistance management are a concern.[33] DPI provides recommendations on these and other topics for producers.[33]

As with the entire world, the most popular rodenticide is warfarin although some warfarin resistance is found here.[34] DPI recommends rodenticides including alternatives for resistant targets.[34]

About half of Australia's timber production is in New South Wales. Large areas of the state are now being replanted with eucalyptus forests

Under the Water Management Act 2000, updated riparian water rights were given to those within NSW with livestock. Under the Act, "an owner or occupier of a landholding is entitled to take water from a river, estuary or lake which fronts their land or from an aquifer which is underlying their land for domestic consumption and stock watering without the need for an access licence."[35]

40% of Australia's lucerne (Medicago sativa, alfalfa) is grown here.[36] Due to the introduction of the spotted alfalfa aphid (Therioaphis maculata) in the 1700s all varieties grown here must be resistant to it (see also Lucerne § Varieties).[36]

The Flow Hive was invented here and the company is operated here.[37]

In the late 1970s, drug resistance had become so severe that the government convened a committee to advise them.[38] The Stock Medicines Board formed a committee from University of New England, CSIRO, the Agriculture Department, University of Sydney, and the Victoria Department of Agriculture.[38] The state's stations are so numerous – and modern drugs so vital to modern production – that anthelminthic resistance in livestock parasites of sheep, goats, and horses had become widespread.[38] (In fact the first known example of any anthelminthic resistance in the country was against thiabendazole (TBZ) in Haemonchus contortus of sheep in the Northern Tablelands, reported by Smeal et al., 1968.[38]) The committee found that by the late '70s bendazole resistances were common in H. contortus, Trichostrongylus colubriformis, and Ostertagia circumcincta spp. of sheep and Strongylidae spp. of horse.[38] They advised that resistance would continue to develop and could not be avoided, and so resistance management would be a constant companion for the industry in the future.[38]

See also


Recent Economic Indicators 2020/21 2021/22
Estimated Resident Population 8,095,430 8,130,115
Real Gross State Product growth (%) 2.6 1.8
Real GSP per head growth (%) 2.5 1.6
GSP (current prices) (A$m) 649,173 697,364
Proportion of Australian GDP (%) 31.2 30.2
Change in real final demand (%) 4.4 3.4
Unemployment rate (%) 6.1 5.0



  1. ^ a b c d Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) (18 November 2022). "Australian National Accounts: State Accounts, Cat. No. 5220.0, Canberra". Retrieved 19 September 2023.
  2. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) (14 September 2023). "Labour Force, Australia". Retrieved 19 September 2023.
  3. ^ Market Information and Research Section DFAT (December 2022). "New South Wales (fact sheet)" (PDF). Based on DFAT STARS database and ABS catalogues 3101.0, 5220.0, 5368.0, 5368.0.55.003/4 and 6202.0. Archived from the original on 19 September 2023. Retrieved 19 September 2023.
  4. ^ "Proof of history's rum deal". The Sydney Morning Herald. 28 January 2006. Retrieved 25 November 2020. The early governors wanted to keep NSW as a large-scale open prison, with a primitive economy based on yeomen ex-convicts and run by government fiat.
  5. ^ "1788 to 1810 - Early European Settlement". Retrieved 22 October 2023.
  6. ^ a b c "Basic Data Selection - amaWebClient". Retrieved 20 September 2023.
  7. ^ "Industry structure - Industry sectors". NSW Department of Industry. 22 November 2019. Retrieved 20 September 2023.
  8. ^ a b "Industry strengths and capabilities - Industry sectors". NSW Department of Industry. 22 November 2019. Retrieved 20 September 2023.
  9. ^ a b "Counts of Australian Businesses, including Entries and Exits, July 2019 - June 2023 | Australian Bureau of Statistics". 22 August 2023. Retrieved 20 September 2023.
  10. ^ Board, Student Job (25 June 2021). "Funding Options for Startups in NSW | Student Job Board". Student Job Board Blog. Retrieved 22 October 2023.
  11. ^ "Technology in NSW". Retrieved 22 October 2023.
  12. ^ NSW, Department of Regional (3 February 2020). "Regional NSW Today | NSW Government". Retrieved 20 September 2023.
  13. ^ "Agrifood". Retrieved 20 September 2023.
  14. ^ "About Investment NSW". Retrieved 20 September 2023.
  15. ^ "Priority Sectors". Retrieved 20 September 2023.
  16. ^ "Overview: Our plan for NSW | NSW Budget". Retrieved 20 September 2023.
  17. ^ a b c d
  18. ^ Channels, NSW Government Digital (20 January 2020). "Key facts about NSW | NSW Government". Retrieved 22 October 2023.
  19. ^ "Wheat". NSW Department of Primary Industries. 10 July 2022. Retrieved 10 July 2022.
  20. ^ "New South Wales". Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.
  21. ^ "Wheat". Aegic | Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre. Sydney & Perth. 8 March 2021. Retrieved 15 July 2022.
  22. ^ Park, Robert F. (October 2009). "Australia's Preparedness for Ug99". Plant Health Australia + Grains Research & Development Corporation (GRDC) + Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre. S2CID 201081742. Retrieved 10 July 2022.
  23. ^ "Wheat". Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. 15 October 2020. Retrieved 15 July 2022.
  24. ^ "Rust diseases - a threat to global food security". NSW Department of Primary Industries. 13 February 2007. Retrieved 15 July 2022.
  25. ^ a b Park, Robert F.; Wellings, Colin R. (8 September 2012). "Somatic Hybridization in the Uredinales". Annual Review of Phytopathology. Annual Reviews. 50 (1): 219–239. doi:10.1146/annurev-phyto-072910-095405. ISSN 0066-4286. PMID 22920559.
  26. ^ Agricultural Production Archived 7 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on 7 March 2009.
  27. ^ Agriculture – Overview – Australia Archived 21 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  28. ^
  29. ^ Bridges, E. M. (1967). "Cotton in Australia". Geography. 52 (1): 73–75. ISSN 0016-7487.
  30. ^ Lloyd, Annice C.; Hamacek, Edward L.; Kopittke, Rosemary A.; Peek, Thelma; Wyatt, Pauline M.; Neale, Christine J.; Eelkema, Marianne; Gu, Hainan (May 2010). "Area-wide management of fruit flies (Diptera: Tephritidae) in the Central Burnett district of Queensland, Australia". Crop Protection. 29 (5): 462–469. doi:10.1016/j.cropro.2009.11.003. ISSN 0261-2194.
  31. ^ "From paddock to plate". Tourism New South Wales. New South Wales Government. 1 July 2003. Archived from the original on 3 February 2009. Retrieved 7 March 2009.
  32. ^ SMH Travel - Scone Retrieved on 7 March 2009
  33. ^ a b c Fahey, Darren; Dunne, Katie; Jarrett, Maggie (2022). Grapevine management guide 2022–23. NSW Department of Primary Industries. eISSN 2209-7503. ISSN 1036-7551. Retrieved 7 August 2022.
  34. ^ a b McCleod, Lynette; Saunders, Glen (August 2013). Pesticides Used in the Management of Vertebrate Pests in Australia: A Review. NSW Department of Primary Industries. p. 168. ISBN 978-1-74256-546-0. Retrieved 7 August 2022.
  35. ^ "Domestic and stock rights". NSW Department of Primary Industries, Office of Water. 15 August 2014. Archived from the original on 24 March 2015. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
  36. ^ a b
  37. ^ "Flow Hive". Flow Hive. Retrieved 13 July 2022.
  38. ^ a b c d e f Prichard, R. K.; Hall, C. A.; Kelly, J. D.; Martin, I. C. A.; Donald, A. D. (1980). "The Problem of Anthelmintic Resistance in Nematodes". Australian Veterinary Journal. Australian Veterinary Association (Wiley). 56 (5): 239–250. doi:10.1111/j.1751-0813.1980.tb15983.x. ISSN 0005-0423. PMID 7002142. S2CID 37754728.