State of the Environment Report title
2 0 0 4

2004 Report



Indicator description

Results for this indicator are also available for  

What the results tell us for Tumbarumba

Several measures indicate that the Tumbarumba Shire economy has enjoyed moderate prosperity in recent times. Tumbarumba Shire recorded an annual growth of 1.9% in its Gross Regional Product in the decade to 2001.

Output from agriculture was valued at $51.9 million in 2001, and from manufacturing at $32 million.

Agriculture remains a major employer, along with manufacturing and retail trade, though overall, employment numbers had been gradually dropping over the past two decades. As with many other local government areas in the Australian Capital Region, there was an increase in numbers employed part-time rather than full-time.

Hyne's proposed upgrade of its saw mill, still under construction at the end of the reporting period, had already injected energy into the local economy in the form of employment, land values, housing and benefits to local business.

Households were benefiting from local employment and higher incomes.

The reporting period covered the commencement of the Commonwealth's Goods and Services Tax (GST), but as only limited post-2001 data were available, effects can not be gauged in this report.

In the absence of figures for the exact reporting period, we have reported the economic pattern over the decade to 2001, the time of the latest Census figures and a midpoint in the reporting period. The focus is on local content and potential.

Recent growth in economy

Gross Regional Product for Tumbarumba Shire rose from $67.5 million in 1991 to $81.3 million in 2001 (in 2001 dollars)—an annual increase of 1.9% (Regional Statistics, NIEIR, 2003). The median annual increase in Gross Regional Product for the local government areas in the Australian Capital Region was 1.7%.

Agriculture, the major industry of Tumbarumba Shire, was worth $51.9 million in 2001 (Table 1). Total value of industry to the shire was $163.7 million. Local residents produced the world's finest bale of wool in both 2000–01 and 2001–02, generating significant promotional material for the local area. In horticulture there have been further developments in blueberries, vineyards, grape processing and cellar door sales, and expansion of softwood plantations. The Regional Forest Agreement delivered a long-term future to hardwood harvesting from the Bago and Maragle Forests during 2000–01.

It is expected that manufacturing will increase in the next reporting period, with the announcement by Hyne and Son Pty Ltd during the reporting period, of an intention to invest $65 million in the upgrade of its saw mill to enable processing of 1,000,000 cubic metres of softwood per year. Construction was in peak phase at the end of the reporting period. There have already been spin-off improvements in road and water infrastructure and community and health facilities for the shire. There has also been growth in tourism, in local business and expansion of industry at the Jingellic Road industrial estate. Land values have risen and a projected need identified for a further 100 houses to meet the demands of new residents. As well as attracting workers associated with the Hyne project, Tumbarumba Shire is starting to be adopted by people looking for a 'tree change' (see About the data).

Table 1. Industry outputs, Tumbarumba Shire, 2001 $million
IndustryValue $million
Business services9
Tourism and hospitality services7.1
Other output50.9

Source: NIEIR, YourPlace (2003), Regional Statistics for Tumbarumba Shire Council

Economic trends

Analysis of key economic sectors in the period from 1991 to 2001 by the Bureau of Rural Sciences reveals certain trends (see About the data). Agriculture increased as a proportion of the economy, though changes in type of agriculture practised have occurred; forestry and logging activity declined as a proportion of the economy—most likely as a result of the shifting of many Forests NSW plantation sector employees from Tumbarumba to Tumut in 2000; manufacturing activities, including wood and paper manufacturing as well as other manufacturing, increased in Tumbarumba as a proportion of the economy.

In general in the South West Slopes, there has been some shift out of sheep grazing alone into cattle grazing or grain growing, and shifts to growing different types of grain crops. This was largely driven by wool prices, but also by ageing farmers choosing a less labour intensive form of farming. Increasing input prices, often without similar increases in prices received for livestock and crops, and increasing mechanisation and efficiency of agricultural production have had an impact on employment. Where once a full-time farm worker was employed, farmers often now manage considerably larger areas of land using less labour than they did two decades ago. Focus group participants also suggested that off-farm employment between 1996 and 2001 may have assisted the financial viability of some of the farmers.

Only two local government areas have shown a different trend, with the reported number of sheep grazing enterprises growing slightly in Tumut and Tumbarumba compared to most other local government areas.

In Tumbarumba, a broader range of agricultural activities have developed over the last two decades, with increasing viticulture but declining orchard growing. The orchard industry has struggled at times in Tumut Shire as well as in Tumbarumba, with producers having to expand to stay viable.

Building approvals

The saw mill development and increase in other building activities were reflected in the rise in the value of construction certificates issued during the reporting period (see Table 2).

Table 2. Number of applications and total value of development in Tumbarumba Shire, July 2000 to June 2004
YearNo. of development applicationsNo. of construction certificates issuedValue of construction certificates

Source: Tumbarumba Shire Council Annual Reports 2001–2004

Local employment

Agriculture and Forestry were the main industries for employment in the shire in 2001, followed by Manufacturing. Table 3 demonstrates the spread of employment.

Table 3. Industry employment, Tumbarumba Shire as at Census 2001
Industry MalesFemalesPersons
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing307104411
Retail Trade4396139
Accommodation, Cafes and Restaurants285987
Health and Community Services156176
Electricity, Gas and Water Supply64670
Personal and Other Services392160
Transport and Storage41950
Government Administration and Defence291443
Wholesale Trade241539
Property and Business Services71623
Cultural and Recreational Services12719
Finance and Insurance61218
Communication Services707
Not stated606

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics (2003) Catalogue No. 2006.0

The Hyne project and proposals for two additional 'value-adding' plants are expected to generate up to 300 jobs for the district, of which some 100 jobs are direct new jobs at the upgraded mill and plants. Indirect jobs have been estimated based on examination of experience in similar developments elsewhere.

In 2003–04 over 200 direct jobs (generated by plantations grown in the South Western Slopes of NSW, up to the point of processed products leaving the mill door) were located in the Local Government Area of Tumbarumba. (FWPRDC, 2005:45) (see also About the data).

For every $1 million spent by the plantation sector, between 8.3 and 15.7 jobs are created in the South West Slopes, depending on which part of the plantation industry is being examined. This includes both direct employment by the plantation industry, and flow-on employment generated as a result of demand for goods and services from the plantation industry. In addition, further flow-on employment is created outside the region when goods and services are imported from other regions. For every direct job in the plantation sector, this equates to flow-on employment equivalent to between 0.8 and 1.3 jobs within the South-West Slopes (FRPRDC, 2005:45)

Consistent with the types of industry and development that are predominant in the shire, some 76% of the labour force was employed in the private sector in 2001 (Australian Bureau of Statistics (2003) Catalogue No. 2004.0 'Usual Residents Profile')

Table 4 tells a story of declining employment between 1981 and 1991, both in total numbers employed and in full-time employment. The upturn in plantation sector employment and flow-on effects reported earlier for the latter half of the reporting period should be evident from 2006 Census and available for the 2008 State of the Environment Report.

As is consistent with a pattern elsewhere in the Region, part-time employment consistently grew during the 20-year period.

Table 4. Employment, Tumbarumba Shire, 1981 to 2001
Employment category19811986199119962001
Persons employed full time (number)1,3481,2681,1321,101973
Persons employed part time (number)317326344396413
Employed persons (number)1,6651,5941,5661,5301,455

Source. NIEIR (2003), Population Profile for Tumbarumba; Note: Data may not add up—see About the data

Local employment is important for the local economy. Table 5 shows negative growth in the ratio of employed persons to resident population at the time of the last Census in 2001, but an improvement over 1998 (see Table 5). The ratio of employed persons to working-age residents (18–65 years) showed that some 52 of every 100 people were employed in 2001, compared with an average of 57 for the whole of the Australian Capital Region.

With ageing of the population generally, it is expected that over time, the workforce will shrink in relation to those not in the workforce. We therefore looked at numbers employed in 2001 in relation to the total resident population. In Tumbarumba Shire 39 were employed for every 100 residents. This is just lower than the average of 40 for the whole of the Australian Capital Region. Implications of ageing of the population were also touched on in Population.

Table 5. Rate of local employment, Tumbarumba Shire, 1991 to 2001
Percentage annual growth*0.1%-0.7%-1.5%-1.0%
Ratio of employed persons to resident population** 0.570.580.560.540.52

* In ratio of employed persons to resident population; ** Aged 18 to 65 years; Source: NIEIR (2003) YourPlace

Recent drop in unemployment

The unemployment rate in Tumbarumba over the 20 years to 2001 were far lower than the double figures experienced in some other local government areas of the Australian Capital Region (Table 6). At 5% in 2001 this is well below that for Australia as a whole at the same time (6.4%) (Australian Bureau of Statistics Year Book Australia 2002). In response to Council's Social Plan, a computer with Job Search Network is now located in the Tumbarumba Rural Transaction Centre.

Table 6. Unemployment in Tumbarumba Shire, 1981 to 2001
Unemployment Category19811986199119962001
Unemployment rate (%)46665
Unemployed persons (number)631041049680

Source: NIEIR 2003 YourPlace

Income low but growing

Average household income in 2001 was $40,529 (see Table 7), marginally lower than the average of $44,226 for the whole Australian Capital Region. Annual growth was stronger in the late 1990's–early 2000's.

Table 7. Household income, Tumbarumba Shire, 1991 to 2001
Annual growth in average household income0.2%-0.6%3.4%3.2%
Average household income, 2001 dollars35,209 35,471 34,495 36,909 40,529

Source: NIEIR (2003) YourPlace, Population Profile

Household growth

When growth in both local employment and household income were combined in a composite measure for the Census years 1991–2001, the resulting measure for change in household growth supported a growing economy with benefits being returned to the local area (see Table 8 and About the data).

Table 8. Household growth, Tumbarumba Shire, 1991 to 2001
Composite growth1991199619982001

* 50% of per annum growth in real average household income + 50% of per annum growth in the proportion of population that are employed; Source: NIEIR (2003) YourPlace

About the data

Details for 'Recent growth in economy' and estimated increases in employment were derived from Tumbarumba Shire Council Annual Reports for the years ending 30 June 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004, in particular, from the Mayor's and the General Manager's messages in these reports.

Details for 'Economic trends' were taken from chapter 6 of the Australian Government Bureau of Rural Sciences Forest and Wood Products Research and Development Corporation study of Socio-economic impacts of plantation forestry in the South West Slopes of NSW.

Table 4—Data may not add up because of the number of employed people who did not state full-time or part-time employment.

Gross regional product (the regional equivalent of the national measure of gross domestic product) does not necessarily have uniform impacts for households in the local government area as employees don't necessarily share in the increased value created by an industry.

A Household Growth indicator of the change in average household income and the change in the percentage of the population that is employed was used by National Economics—the National Institute of Economic and Industry Research— to obtain a more useful measure of economic growth at the local level. This indicator captures the incomes generated through equity participation at the local government level. Calculations are retrospective to the previous Census data; therefore, 1991 change relates back to 1986 figures. Further details are available from National Economics National Institute of Economic and Industry Research, 2003, YourPlace Indicators Technical Documentation, pp23–24.

Australian Bureau of Statistics Catalogue No. 2006.0, Working Population Profile is based on place of employment, excludes overseas visitors and is applicable for Journey to Work Study Areas and aggregates of these.

South Western Slopes of NSW—The area covered by the Forest and Wood Products Research and Development Corporation research into Socio-economic impacts of plantation forestry in the South West Slopes of NSW included NSW Local Government Areas (boundaries current as at 2001) of Tumut, Tumbarumba, Cootamundra and Gundagai (in the eastern parts of the South West Slopes) and Culcairn, Holbrook, Hume, Wagga Wagga and Albury in the west.


Australian Bureau of Statistics (2003) Catalogue No. 2004.0, Usual Residents Profile

Australian Bureau of Statistics (2003) Catalogue No. 2006.0, Working Population Profile

Australian Bureau of Statistics (2002) Year Book Australia 2002, last updated 11 March 2003

Forest and Wood Products Research and Development Corporation, 2005, Socio-economic impacts of plantation forestry in the South West Slopes of NSW, 1991 to 2004, Report produced for FWPRDC Project PN04.4007 by J Schirmer, M Parsons, C Charalambou and M Gavran, p.83

National Institute of Economic and Industry Research (2003) State of the Regions 2003—Your Place, Tables: 'Regional Statistics for Tumbarumba Shire Council',

Tumbarumba Shire Council, Tumbarumba Shire Council Annual Report 2000/2001

Tumbarumba Shire Council, Tumbarumba Shire Council Annual Report 2001/2002

Tumbarumba Shire Council, Tumbarumba Shire Council Annual Report 2002/2003

Tumbarumba Shire Council, Tumbarumba Shire Council Annual Report 2003/2004