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In the state of New South Wales, Australia, there are many areas which are commonly known by regional names. Regions are areas that share similar characteristics. These characteristics may be natural such as the Murray River, the coastline, or the Snowy Mountains. Alternatively, the characteristics may be cultural, such as a viticulture land use. New South Wales is divided by numerous regional boundaries, based on different characteristics. In many cases boundaries defined by different agencies are coterminous.
In New South Wales on the third tier of elected government after the federal and state governments are the local government authorities, which are responsible for the local government areas. The types of LGAs in New South Wales are cities, municipalities, shires and regions.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics has multiple regional structures for which it analyses and reports data. These regional structures derive from the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (AGSC). The AGSC defines at the very smallest level, the Census Collection District (CCD). These CCD's aggregate to form the Statistical Local Area (SLA), which is the common base unit for each of the larger regional structures. The boundaries of the SLA are designed to be typically coterminous with Local Government Areas unless the LGA does not fit entirely into a Statistical Subdivision (SSD), or is not of a comparative nature to other LGA's. Bureau of Statistics provides statistics for Local Government Areas, as well as three other statistical structures: Statistical Divisions, Statistical Regions, and Statistical Districts.
Statistical Divisions (SD) form the main structural hierarchy of statistical analysis. These regions are structured to provide a broad range of social, demographic and economic statistics. The basis for the boundary delineations center on socioeconomic criteria. The thirteen divisions for New South Wales are:
The Statistical Region (SR) structure was established in 1986 as a means for labor force analysis.
The Statistical District (SDist) is a non-capital, urban region of one or more adjoining areas, with a population of 25,000 or more. The SDist is defined with consideration of a 20 year growth forecast. The SDist does not need to conform to LGA boundaries or to state territory boundaries. The thirteen Statistical Districts in New South Wales are:
The Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation for Australia (IBRA) is a biogeographic regionalisation of Australia; divided into 89 bioregions and 419 subregions. Each region is a land area made up of a group of interacting ecosystems that are repeated in similar form across the landscape. Regions and subregion cross state and territory boundaries. The bioregions that are located within all or part of New South Wales include:
New South Wales is also informally divided into a smaller number of regions. These regions have no general administrative function or status. Many of them are only vaguely defined, or are defined in different ways for different purposes. For example, departments of the New South Wales government, such as the New South Wales Police Force, or the Ministry of Health, define regions of the State for their own internal administrative purposes. These regions may be defined in completely different ways, as shown by the maps in the references.
The original basis for descriptive regional names in New South Wales is based on the geography of the State.
The State can be divided into four components:
These four components are then typically divided into north, central and southern components based upon their location relative to Sydney.
This two-way subdivision gives rise to the generic pattern of regions, and in some cases, subregions:
|Informal divisions of New South Wales|
|Region name||Subregion name||Comments|
|North Coast||Mid North Coast||North of Seal Rocks to as far north as Woolgoolga.|
|Northern Rivers||North of Woolgoolga to the Queensland border.|
|Central Coast||Central Coast||North of the Hawkesbury River to as far north as Lake Macquarie.|
|Hunter||Lies between the North Coast and the Central Coast, and includes the valley of the Hunter River (which extends far inland between the Northern Tablelands and the Central Tablelands), as well as the Newcastle–Lake Macquarie conurbation.|
|South Coast||Illawarra||Between Royal National Park and Nowra.|
|South Coast||South of Nowra to the Victorian border.|
|Northern Tablelands||New England||Includes the towns and districts of Tenterfield, Glen Innes, Guyra, Inverell, Armidale and Walcha.|
|Central Tablelands||Greater Blue Mountains Area||Generally that area west of the Nepean River and east of Lithgow, stretching to Capertee Valley in the north, and Wombeyan Caves in the south. The majority of the region is contained within a series of national parks.|
|Central West||Generally that region centred around the cities of Bathurst and Orange and the three large towns Cowra, Parkes and Lithgow and other smaller centres which include Oberon, Mudgee, and Forbes, and other small towns and villages,|
|Southern Tablelands||Southern Highlands||Generally that region centered around the towns of Mittagong, Bowral, Moss Vale, Bundanoon and Robertson, as well as the historic town of Berrima.|
|Capital Country||Taking in the region surround Canberra, including the cities of Queanbeyan and Goulburn and the towns of Crookwell, Yass and Young.|
|Snowy Mountains||Monaro||The main towns in the region are Cooma, Jindabyne, Berridale and Bombala.|
|South-West Slopes||Riverina||Lies in the central south of the State, around the Murray, Murrumbidgee and Lachlan rivers. This region may, or may not, include the South-West Slopes, depending on the context.|
|Orana||Far West||Its only city is Broken Hill and other significant towns are Bourke, Brewarrina, Cobar, Ivanhoe and Wentworth.|
|Orana/Western Plains||The major localities are Dubbo, Cobar and Mudgee.|
The local government areas in New South Wales have created regional groupings. The NSW Regional Organisations of Councils, typically with names like "Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils" ( WSROC ) have the main function of lobbying the State Government on various matters, coordinating economic development, joint purchasing between councils and regional promotion. They have no formal administrative function.
Historically, groupings of local governments were also involved in sharing electricity and water supply undertakings.
The Department of State and Regional Development lists fourteen regions in New South Wales.
The Department of Local Government lists twelve regions
The Department of Planning divides New South Wales into seven regions:
The New South Wales Ministry of Health divided New South Wales into fifteen separate regions, called Local Health Districts. These are:
Additionally, a small number of non-geographic specialty networks cover paediatric health, justice and forensic health, and the St' Vincent's Health network.
The New South Wales Police Force is organised into approximately 81 local area commands, which are aggregated into six regions:
Yet another subdivision of New South Wales into regions is as follows:
This classification subdivides the most commonly accepted notion of "The Riverina" into two separate regions, "Riverina" and "The Murray".