Walgett Shire at a glance

Walgett Shire is situated in the far north west of New South Wales. The Shire consists of several larger towns and villages and a large rural population. The Shire is on the productive soil plains of N.S.W and traditional rural pursuits have been farming and grazing. There are some 882 rural properties in Walgett Shire that usually contribute approximately $2,139,945 in general rate revenue i.e. 73.62% of the total general rate. The river systems that affect the Shire are relatively dependable although in times of extreme drought, restrictions have to be imposed; rural properties that have water licenses are desirable. People living in camps around Lightning Ridge have to buy and cart water. For people who enjoy a less restrictive lifestyle, Lightning Ridge and its opal mining opportunities provide the ideal township. Lightning Ridge, known as the Home of the Black Opal, is home to people from approximately 50 nationalities that work and socialise harmoniously.

Major sectors for employment are mining agriculture, community services, retail, financial and business services, public administration and communications. Both professional staff and trades people who enjoy a rural lifestyle will fin employment opportunities throughout the Shire. Walgett is located on the Castlereagh Highway on the north south route connecting Sydney and Brisbane. A daily XPT service is provided from Sydney to Dubbo; from there passengers are transported by a road coach that travels daily to Lightning Ridge. A wide range of transport companies serve the township of Walgett with freight being forwarded by local contractors. 

The biggest above ground grain silos in the Southern Hemisphere are situated approximately 3kms out of Walgett. The 1998 harvest saw 198,530 tonnes of grain being received at the site from which it is transported primarily by train. Harvest time brings an influx of contract harvesters into the Shire who also contributes to the economy of the town. 

Walgett, Lightning Ridge and Collarenebri have airstrips provided by Walgett Shire Council and regulated by CASAA. Burren Junction has an Authorised Landing Area. The AirLink services previously provided ceased in December 2008, but Charter flights are available and private aircraft make good use of the available facilities. 

Agricultural industries produce wheat, cotton and sheep (for wool as well as meat). Farmers and graziers are looking to diversify and value-add to their produce. Most towns and villages are connected by bitumen roads which allows for easy transport of produce to major centres. The requirements of the farming, grazing and opal mining sectors provide business for several machinery suppliers and steel fabrication works.

 Land prices and rates are low compared with the more urbanised areas of the state and unskilled labour is plentiful. The retail sector of Lightning Ridge relies on opal based tourism. All towns and villages in the Shire have at least one grocery shop or supermarket to supply the needs of the community. Retailers appreciate the business gained from tourists in the Shire and many entrepreneurial opportunities exist. Walgett Shire offers a friendly relaxed lifestyle and there are many sporting and recreational pursuits available. 

 Education throughout the Shire is provided by 1 secondary school, two central schools, seven primary/infants schools seven preschools and one children's mobile. Both Walgett Public School and High School have distance education units to assist with education for rural and isolated families. Post secondary education is offered by the Western Institute of TAFE, Walgett Campus. A long day care centre has recently started. 

Walgett District Hospital has a modern 20 acute bed hospital, an eight bed geriatric unit and three high dependency beds. The hospital has general medical, surgical, pediatrics, emergency obstetrics, palliative care and aged care. There are Multi Purpose Health Services in both Lightning Ridge and Collarenebri. Health staff is supported by a range of health professionals from Government and Non-government services. Walgett also has a private medical centre and the Walgett Aboriginal Medical Service which provides services in; Public Health, Midwifery, Dentistry, Ears, Eyes, Mental Health, Podiatry, Family Health, Sexual Health, Women's and Men's health, Drugs and Alcohol and counselling services.

Contact Details

Walgett Shire Council

Phone: 02 6828 1399

Fax: 02 6828 1608