Key Statistics

Area: 1,167.12 sq km

Population: 11,925

Unemployment: 5.1%

Participation Rate: 57.4%

Median Taxable Income: $32,596 p.a.

Leeton Regional Profile

The main regional centre in the Leeton Shire is Leeton which is situated 580 km west of Sydney, via the Hume and Sturt Highways. Leeton is the administrative centre of the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area.

In 2001 the population of the Leeton Shire was 11,925, an increase of 4.5% since 1996. The Shire has experienced most growth in the number of people aged 75-79 and 40-44.

There are around 5,217 people in the workforce in the Leeton Shire, of which 65% work full-time and 27% work part-time. At the time of the last census 5% of residents were unemployed.

The three largest employers in the Leeton Shire are the agriculture (19.7%), manufacturing (16.1%) and retail (12.5%) industries. The median taxable income for the Leeton Shire is approximately $627 per week.


Age Distribution

Between 1996 and 2001 Leeton Shire experienced a growth in population of 4.5%.

While there was a large decline in the number of residents aged 20-24, strong growth was experienced in most age groups, especially in the 75-79 and 40-44 years segments.

Leeton Shire has a population distribution close to the state and regional averages, however there are a slightly higher proportion of residents aged under 24 and fewer in the in the age groups over 25 years.


The median taxable income for the Leeton Shire is approximately $627 per week. This is slightly lower than the average for the Riverina as a whole.

The highest proportion of residents in the Leeton Shire (12.8%) earn between $200 and $299 per week.

Average weekly income for females is $399 much lower than that of males.

Indigenous Profile

Indigenous Persons

Indigenous persons account for 3.0% of the total population in the Leeton Shire. This is slightly lower than the average for the Riverina region (3.3%) but higher than the state average of 2%.

The indigenous population is concentrated in the 0-9 and 20-29 age groups in a similar distribution to that of the entire population.

Labour Force

Indigenous unemployment is lower in the Leeton Shire than the averages for either the Riverina or NSW.

The level of unemployment for females is lower than that of males, however there are almost twice as many females not in the labour force as males.

The average unemployment rate of indigenous persons in the Leeton Shire (18.4%) is more than three times the unemployment rate for the total population (5.1%).


Level of Education

The most common form of post-school qualification completed by Leeton residents is a certificate (12.4%).

Males tend to pursue certificate qualifications, while most females study for certificates and bachelor qualifications.

Leeton has a lower average level of education than both regional and state levels.

Field of Education

The most common fields of study in the Leeton Shire are engineering, management and education.

Engineering, architecture and agriculture are the most common fields of study for males. Females tend to move into the management, education and health fields

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

Internet Use

Almost 27% of residents in the Leeton Shire use the Internet, with most use occurring in the home.

The level of use of the Internet for males and females is approximately equal, with around 27% usage in both groups.

Only 0.3% 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 Leeton Shire is 5.1% with a participation rate of 57.4%.

The Leeton Shire experienced employment growth of 6.1% between 1996 and 2001. This is higher than the average rate of growth for the Riverina of 4.0%.

The overall rate of unemployment for males and females is approximately equal. Females however have a higher rate of unemployment in those aged under 24.


Industry Performance

Industry growth due to local factors was strongest in the agriculture (187 jobs created between 1996 and 2001), wholesale trade (101 jobs) and government administration and defence (21 jobs) industries. This is a positive result for the region as the agriculture industry acts as a “wealth creator” which generates economic activity that flows on to other industries in the region.

Employment by Occupation

Most employment in the Leeton Shire is in labourers and related occupations. A number of residents also work in managers and administrators occupations.

The prevalence of these occupations is attributable to the high number of farmers and small business owners who are classified as managers.

Males are mostly employed as tradesmen and managers while females tend to be employed in clerical and professional occupations.


Employment Trend

The largest employer in the Leeton Shire has shifted from manufacturing in 1991 to agriculture in 2001. The retail industry is also a large employer in the area.

The largest increase in employment since 1991 occurred in the agriculture sector. The largest decrease occurred in the electricity, gas and water supply industry.

Male employment is concentrated in the manufacturing, agriculture and retail industries. Female employment is concentrated in the retail, education and health sectors.

Building Approvals

The total value of building approvals in the Leeton Shire in 2002 was $11 million. The average price of building approvals was $165,000.

The value of residential building approvals grew by 48.3% p.a. between 1998 and 2002. This is lower than the average growth of 55% for NSW but higher than the average for the Riverina (43.7%).

The building market in Leeton appears to be similar to that of the Riverina region and reacts to the same overall trends experienced across the shire.