Key Statistics

Area: 1522.48 sq km

Population: 7,695

Unemployment: 6.9%

Participation Rate: 54.2%

Median Taxable Income: $46,739 p.a.

Cootamundra Regional Profile

The main regional centre in the Cootamundra Shire is Cootamundra which is a regional town situated 375 km south west of Sydney.

In 2001 the population of the Cootamundra Shire was 7,695. The Shire has experienced strong growth in the number of people aged over 70 since 1996.

There are around 3,096 people in the workforce in the Cootamundra Shire, of which 60% work full-time and 31% work part-time. At the time of the last census 7% of residents were unemployed.

Two of the largest employers in the Cootamundra Shire are the agriculture (16.3%) and retail (14.7%) industries. The median taxable income for the Cootamundra Shire is approximately $899 per week.


Age Distribution

Between 1996 and 2001 Cootamundra Shire experienced a decline in population of 1.2%.

The decrease was mostly due to large declines in the number of residents aged 20-34 and 65-69. This was offset however by an increase of almost 25% in those aged 70+.

Cootamundra Shire has a higher proportion of residents aged under 15 and over 65 than the average for NSW, indicating a highly dependant community.

Just over 50% of the Shires population are in the prime working age group (25-64 years).


The median taxable income for the Cootamundra Shire is approximately $899 per week. This is well above the average for the Riverina as a whole.

The highest proportion of residents in the Cootamundra Shire (17.1%) earn between $200 and $299 per week.

Average weekly income for females is lower than that of males.

Indigenous Profile

Indigenous Persons

Indigenous persons account for 3.8% of the total population in the Cootamundra Shire. This is higher than the averages for both the Riverina region (3.3%) and NSW (2%).

While the total population of Cootamundra Shire is ageing, the indigenous population is skewed more towards younger age groups.

Labour Force

Indigenous unemployment is higher in the Cootamundra Shire than the averages for either the Riverina or NSW.

The levels of unemployment and employment between males and females are balanced, however there are a higher number of indigenous females not in the labour force than males.

The average unemployment rate of indigenous persons in the Cootamundra Shire (23.9%) is more than three times the unemployment rate for the total population (6.9%).


Level of Education

The most common form of post-school qualification completed by Cootamundra residents is a certificate (13.4%).

Most common forms of post-school qualification for both males and females are the certificate, bachelor degree and diploma qualifications.

The distribution of post-school qualifications in Cootamundra is similar to state and regional averages, however there is a lower proportion of postgraduate degrees.

Field of Education

The most common fields of study in the Cootamundra Shire are engineering, management and commerce and health.

Males dominate the areas of engineering, agriculture and architecture while females tend to pursue managerial, health and education qualifications.

These trends are similar to those of the Riverina region and NSW as a whole.


Industry Performance

Industry growth due to local factors was strongest in the agriculture (98 jobs created between 1996 and 2001), construction (22 jobs) and retail trade (20 jobs) industries. This is a positive result for the region as growth in the agriculture industry generates economic activity that flows on to other industries in the region.

Employment by Occupation

Employment in the Cootamundra Shire is quite evenly spread across all occupation groups with the exception of advanced clerical and service workers (3.1%).

This indicates that there is little reliance on any one industry as a major source of employment, as discussed previously where there were a number of prominent industry sectors.

Males are mostly employed as tradespersons, managers and production and transport workers while females tend to be employed in clerical or professional occupations.

The Shire also has a high proportion of labourers compared to NSW and the Riverina.

Internet Use

Over 23% of residents in the Cootamundra Shire use the Internet, with most use occurring in the home.

The level of use of the Internet is equal for males and females across the Shire.

Fewer than 1% of people aged over 65 use the Internet with highest use in the prime working age bracket (25-64 years).


Labour Force Status

The average rate of unemployment in the Cootamundra Shire is 6.9% with a participation rate of 54.2%.

The Cootamundra Shire experienced employment growth of 2.2% between 1996 and 2001. This is lower than the average rate of growth for the Riverina of 4.0%.

Unemployment is highest in the 15-24 age group for both males and females, however the female rate in this age group is higher.

Employment Trend

Agriculture has remained the largest employer in the Cootamundra Shire since 1991. Other large industries include manufacturing, retail and health and community services.

The largest increase in employment since 1991 occurred in the retail trade industry. The largest decrease occurred in the manufacturing industry.

In 2001, female employment was strongest in the health, retail and education sectors.

In contrast, male employment was most heavily concentrated in the agriculture, manufacturing and transport and storage industries.

Building Approvals

The total value of building approvals in the Cootamundra Shire in 2002 was $4.7 million. The average price of building approvals was $180,000.

The value of residential building approvals grew by 43.7% p.a. between 1998 and 2002. This is lower than the average growth of 55% for NSW but equal to the average growth for the Riverina.

It appears that the building boom experienced over the past couple of years has not really affected the Cootamundra Shire, however the market has been quite volatile.

Volatility between September 1999 and March 2001 can most likely be attributed to the introduction of the GST. While fluctuations at other times can be attributed to local factors and may be enhanced by the small population of the Shire.