Kiama
Population 19,986
Avg. Annual Growth (2006-11) 1.1%
Growth Rate 2006-11 5.3%
Area 258 km sq.
Key Industry Sectors Education and Training, Health Care and Social Assistance and Construction
MainUrban Centres Kiama, Jamberoo, Gerringong, Gerroa
   

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE AREA

Geography

Just 30 minutes drive south of Wollongong and 120 minutes south of Sydney, the Kiama Local Government Area (LGA) is arguably the most picturesque spot in the Illawarra. It is also the smallest sub-region in the Illawarra, with an area of only 256 square kilometres.

Set on one of Australia’s most beautiful stretches of coastline, Kiama is a rich mosaic of rugged sea cliffs, golden sandy beaches, dairy pastures and historic towns. The Municipality’s longitudinal boundaries are defined by the Minnamurra River in the north and the seaside township of Gerroa and Seven Mile Beach to the south. Inland is the quaint village of Jamberoo, set in a quite valley at the foot of the Illawarra Escarpment.

The area’s main urban centres are Kiama, Jamberoo, Gerringong and Gerroa. Kiama is a hilly township lined on its seaward side by magnificent Norfolk Island pines. Jamberoo village is a bustling community surrounded by fertile dairy farms. The coastal villages of Gerringong and Gerroa south of Kiama are popular tourist retreats surrounded by farmland and the ocean.

Demography

According to the 2011 Census, the Kiama LGA had a population of 19,986 people. Whilst the area’s initial population growth stemmed from dairy farming and mining, more recent growth has been attributed to the lifestyle opportunity the area presents.

A seaside location and rural outlook have made Kiama a sought after residential area for retirees and people seeking to live in there and commute to work in other areas.

Kiama has a resident workforce of 9,602 people, most of whom are employed in either professional, trade, clerical or service oriented positions. When compared to overall WSD figures, Kiama has a high proportion of its workforce employed as managers (indexed at 1.37) and professionals (indexed at 1.23).

Economic Activity

Agriculture, manufacturing and mining provide a small but secure economic base for Kiama. However, the local economy relies fairly heavily on secondary and tertiary industries such as construction, tourism, retail trade and community services.

The main agricultural activities of the area are dairy farming and cattle grazing. The gross value of agricultural produce in the 2001 season was approximately $11.6 million.

Manufacturing only accounts for approximately 3.2% of business counts in the area and is largely based on smaller light industry servicing the local market. Examples of light industries in the area include producers of vertical drapes, security doors, shower screens, printers, steel fabricators and upholsterers.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics Business Register, the Kiama LGA had 335 construction business locations in 2011. The value of buildings approved in the year to September 2012 totalled some $26.5 Million, more than doubling the $12.7 Million reported in September 2011 due to a strong September 2012 quarter result. Non-residential development contributed $15.1 Million during the twelve months to September 2012.

Retail trade and tourism are intrinsically linked and add considerably to the local economy. In 2011, the Kiama area had 120 retail business counts.

COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGES

Location and Lifestyle

Kiama’s appealing location and lifestyle opportunities have made it a much sought after residential area. Of course, the area’s close proximity to the major employment centres of

Wollongong and Sydney is a distinct advantage. People are willing to commute the relatively short distances to work in other areas in order to take advantage of the lifestyle advantages that Kiama offers.

Kiama offers a superb non-metropolitan lifestyle in a tranquil seaside and rural setting. Yet, because Wollongong is only 30 kilometres north, Kiama’s residents also enjoy all the benefits of having a major urban centre right on their doorstep.

Tourism

Kiama has long been established as a summer holiday destination. Having maintained a unique seaside village charm unspoiled by over-development, Kiama is one of the most popular day trip destinations on the south coast. Tourists flock to see the famous Kiama Blowhole in their thousands. Other popular tourist attractions include Kiama’s many specialty arts and crafts shops, the historic township of Jamberoo and the fun and excitement of Jamberoo Recreation Park. Minnamurra Rainforest is another significant tourist attraction in the area, offering visitors the chance to enjoy the sights and sounds of Australia’s southernmost subtropical rainforest.

The Kiama LGA has a sophisticated infrastructure of tourist facilities and services. A wide variety of accommodation is available, from motels and boutique hotels to caravan parks and country style Bed and Breakfast establishments. Restaurants in the area have a fine reputation for serving high quality cuisine.

Local council has a proactive role in maintaining and improving Kiama’s tourism infrastructure and encourages appropriate new development. A substantial amount of redevelopment of Kiama Township in recent years has been based on improving facilitates and services for tourists as well as residents. The redevelopment of Blowhole Point and the Kiama Terrace and the establishment of a Family History (Genealogy) Centre are examples of major tourism initiatives supported by Council.

THE FUTURE

Kiama does not provide for any substantial industrial development with little land available for industrial use. At the completion of local blue metal quarry activities it is likely that additional land will become available for a number of light industrial activities.

Due to technological change, the Municipality’s close proximity to Sydney and Wollongong and the area’s environmental attraction, it has become increasingly popular for people to move to the area and work from a home office. The local Council has encouraged this activity through changes to its Local Environmental Plan. Kiama Council pursues a policy "to enhance and protect the quality of life of their residents and the unique environment of their area" by actively encouraging environmentally sustainable development.

Last Updated: January 2013