Regional Profile

Overview of the Regionhunter region map

Cessnock Local Government Area (LGA) or Cessnock City, is located in the Hunter Region of NSW, on the east coast of Australia; approximately 150 kilometres north of Sydney, 50 kilometres west of Newcastle and 27 kilometres south west of Maitland. Cessnock LGA is highly accessible by road from Sydney, Newcastle and the New England area. The LGA is within 35 minutes of the Port of Newcastle and 50 minutes of Newcastle Airport. The LGA has rail connections to both the Port of Newcastle and to Sydney.

The Hunter Region contains one of the largest river valleys on the New South Wales east coast, with the Hunter River flowing through its heart. The diverse landscapes of the region include rivers, lakes, beaches, harbours, rurallandscapes, mountains, flood plains, cities, towns and villages. Cessnock LGA is bounded to the south-west by the rugged escarpments of the Broken Back Mountain Range (part of the Great Dividing Range) with many of the region’s vineyards lying in the foothills of this distinctive landscape feature.

The Hunter Region

The Hunter Region is defined by 11 Local Government Areas (LGAs) comprising Cessnock, Singleton, Muswellbrook, Upper Hunter, Port Stephens, Great Lakes, Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Dungog and Gloucester. The region can be divided into two Upper Hunter and Lower Hunter sub-regions. Cessnock, Newcastle, Maitland, Port Stephens and Lake Macquarie LGAs comprise the Lower Hunter sub-region.

Cessnock LGA sits within the heart of the Hunter Region and is an integral part of the Region. The Hunter is the most populous regional area in Australia (population 643,000) and is the fastest growing region in NSW outside of the Sydney Metropolitan area. The Hunter Region comprises 11 local government areas and is divided into the Upper Hunter and Lower Hunter sub-regions. Cessnock LGA is in the Lower Hunter along with Newcastle, Maitland, Port Stephens and Lake Macquarie LGAs. Together these LGAs comprise the greater urban area of Newcastle with this area having the potential to accommodate more than 160,000 more people within the next 25 years.

The main industries in the Hunter Region are coal mining, agriculture, viticulture, tourism, horse breeding, electricity production, dairy farming and beef cattle farming and associated service industries.

Cessnock Local Government Area

The ABS 2016 Census estimates the population for Cessnock LGA at 55,560 people, up 9.3 percent from 2011.Cessnock LGA had the Highest growth rate in the Hunter Region between 2006-2011 Census with 10%, resulting in the third highest growth in regional NSW.

Cessnock LGA has a long history of coal mining, manufacturing, construction, agriculture (e.g. grazing, poultry), viticulture and related tourism activities, all of which are still its primary employment sectors. With the decline in the prominence of traditional industries such as mining and manufacturing for Cessnock LGA, diversification into the visitor economy has proven critical to rebuilding a sustainable and resilient community. Whilst important to the Cessnock LGA economy, mining is no longer the only major industry with significant investment having occurred to build Cessnock City into a thriving centre, the region is now harnessing the benefits of being a vibrant place to live and visit.


Cessnock City is a vibrant place to live and visit.

Cessnock City is a vibrant place to live and visit.

Cessnock town centre is the administrative, retail and service centre for the LGA with Kurri Kurri town centre being an important secondary retail node and the industrial heart of the LGA. Local villages service the basic needs of rural and outlying areas. Cessnock City is well serviced in terms of education and training, children, cultural and community, health, aged care, recreation and sports.

Cessnock is a rural LGA with just over 50% of the area of the LGA being zoned rural. It is bounded by the Watagan, Sugarloaf and Broken Back Ranges to the east, south and west, with National Parks and State Forests covering approximately 40% of the LGA. The scenic attributes of the LGA are highly valued by residents and visitors.

Cessnock LGA Map 1

Downloads and Links: data, strategy and reports


A range of up to data and relevant data and reporting for doing business in the Cessnock, Hunter Valley and Hunter Regions.

Reports produced by Cessnock City Council’s Economic Development Unit:

 National Programs developed by the Economic Development Unit:

Council adopted plans and strategies:

  • Cessnock City Council Economic Development Strategy – Volume 2: population and economic indicators, industry overviews and comprehensive review of the economy
  • Destination Management Plan – Hunter Valley Wine Country, Part A Part B
  • Signage Strategies: the Cessnock LGA signage strategy and the Hunter Valley Wine Country signage strategy were developed to provide guidance on the planning, design and installation of signage in the region.
  • Vineyards Visioning: a community vision for the vineyards district

Useful external economic data and reports:


The above list is an extensive range of data and reports that can support your business plan.  For more information on business investment in Cessnock City, please contact the Economic Development Unit on 02 4993 4185 or 02 4993 4257.