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Regional profile

South East Local Land Services (LLS) covers 55,600 square kilometres of south-east NSW—from Stanwell Park in the north to the Victorian border in the south and westward from Boorowa in the north to Thredbo in the south.  The area covers 698 kilometres of coastline or 40% of the NSW coast.

Population and communities

The South East LLS region is home to approximately 605,000 people including over 16,500 Indigenous Australians.  The majority of people reside in regional centres along the coast, with Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama, Bomaderry, Nowra and Ulladulla being the largest.  The tablelands regional centres include Goulburn, Yass, Queanbeyan and Cooma.

Cultural heritage

For Aboriginal people, the social, economic, biophysical, cultural and spiritual aspects of the South East region.  The region is home to 17 traditional Aboriginal nations with six languages. 

Regional climate

The South East LLS region has a diverse climate ranging from alpine environment to coastal areas through to grazing pastures at places such as Boorowa.

Rainfall is variable.  Rain is fairly uniformly distributed among seasons in the northern parts, slightly dominant in summer and autumn on the south coast, and dominant in spring and winter in the Snowy Mountains, Monaro and southern slopes and plains.  Run-off has a distinct winter peak.  Winter snowfall in the Alps is crucial to the hydrology, soils, ecology and economy of the region.

Annual regional rainfall averages 730 mm and is highest in the Snowy Mountains at over 2,000 mm.  Annual totals are also high on the south coast and hinterland (nearly 900 mm), but lower on the western slopes (over 600 mm).

Economy

The current economic prosperity of the South East LLS region is dependent upon natural resources which support a variety of land uses including agriculture (sheep, beef, dairy and cropping), horticulture, aquaculture, water harvesting, commercial and recreational fishing, heavy industry, forestry, surface and underground mining, urban and lifestyle development and tourism and recreation.

The coast is dominated by large tracts of public land, including national parks. Nature-based tourism is a significant contributor to the region’s economy, especially on the coast and in the Snowy Mountains.

Major geological features, natural assets

The key natural resource assets of the South East region are land, vegetation, rivers, estuaries, marine, wetlands and groundwater.

The region is located within the temperate and warm-temperate coastal lowlands, escarpment and undulating highlands and tablelands. These areas are characterised by complex patterns of terrain and geology. 

The major landscapes include fertile coastal shale-dominated plains bounded by infertile, incised sandstone scarps and plateaux in the eastern and central parts of the region, and undulating tablelands in the west, comprised mainly of granitic and meta sedimentary substrates yielding low to moderate fertility soils, occasionally interrupted by igneous flows and intrusions of high fertility.

The South East region contains unique and varied river, estuary, marine wetlands and groundwater systems.  These range from pristine natural rivers that support diverse aquatic flora and fauna and productive estuaries, to highly modified systems in developed urban and industrialised areas.  The region’s rivers, estuaries, marine environment, wetlands and groundwater support unique and complex biodiversity and a range of agricultural, aquaculture and recreational activities.

Landscape and vegetation types

There are five major landscapes in the South East LLS region.

Slopes landscape

  • Rolling undulating hills, scattered woody areas and extensively cleared grazing lands
  • Fragile erodible soils
  • Rural towns, low population density
  • Less than 18,000 people
  • Boorowa, Upper Lachlan and Yass Valley local government areas
  • Value of agriculture $81 million per annum
  • Sheep, beef, cropping and horticulture
  • Threats include increased subdivision pressure increasing land values

Central tablelands landscape

  • Rolling undulating hills, scattered woody areas and extensively cleared grazing lands
  • Large regional cities and rural towns
  • Located in the “capital growth corridor”
  • Over 84,000 people
  • Palerang, Goulburn Mulwaree and Queanbeyan local government areas
  • Value of agriculture $50 million per annum
  • Sheep, beef and horticulture
  • Threats include increased subdivision pressure increasing land values

Monaro landscape

  • Alpine and sub-alpine areas, rolling treeless plains, forest and woodlands to the west and east on mountain ranges
  • Rural towns and alpine villages, low population density
  • Less than 22,000 people
  • Bombala, Snowy River and Cooma-Monaro local government areas
  • Value of agriculture $67 million per annum
  • Sheep and beef grazing predominates
  • Threats include invasive species and climate change

South Coast and Highlands landscape

  • Rolling hills and coastal alluvial plains, defined by the escarpment and cooler highlands area to the west
  • Major urban centres, high population density
  • Over 370,000 people
  • Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama, Shoalhaven and Wingecaribee local government areas
  • Value of agriculture $110 million per annum
  • Threats include land use pressure and invasive species

Far South Coast landscape

  • Large amounts of public estate (approximately 70%)
  • Coastal towns and villages
  • Over 67,000 people
  • Eurobodalla and Bega Valley local government areas
  • Value of agriculture $75 million per annum
  • Nature based tourism is important to local economies
  • Threats include climate change, invasive species and diseases

Threatened species

Iconic threatened species in the South East region include the green and golden bell frog, northern and southern corroboree frog, regent honeyeater, bush stone curlew, powerful owl, mountain pygmy-possum, brush-tailed rock wallaby, grey-headed flying foxand koala.

Pest species

Declared pests are an issue in the South East of the state, with wild dogs, feral pigs and rabbits all predominant in this region. In the North West of the region (around Yass and Boorowa), locusts and mice also cause problems periodically.