The Hunter Local Land Services region covers an area of 33,000 square kilometres east of the Great Dividing Range, from the dramatic sandstone escarpments and gorges of the Goulburn River, to the rich alluvial floodplains of the Hunter and Williams Rivers. Along the coast the region extends north from Lake Macquarie to Taree and three nautical miles out to sea.
The region is home to the Barrington Tops World Heritage Area, and Wollemi, Yengo, Goulburn River, Hunter Wetlands, Wallarah, Myall Lakes and Crowdy Bay National Parks.
The major waterways are the Manning, Karuah, Wallamba, Myall, Hunter, Williams, Goulburn and Pages rivers and Wallis Lakes, Myall Lakes, Port Stephens, Lake Macquarie, and Lake Munmorah.
The Hunter Estuary and Myall Lakes systems are Ramsar listed as nationally and internationally significant wetland sites for migratory and resident shorebirds, while Port Stephens Great Lakes Marine Park has significant soft coral and sponge gardens, which provide important habitat for many marine species.
Our region has a rich cultural heritage and its landscapes and natural resources traditionally sustained a significant Aboriginal population. There are many important cultural sites and landscapes throughout the catchment that are of state, national and international significance, and these continue to be managed by local communities.
There are around 670,000 people currently living in the Hunter Local Land Services region. The major population centres are in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie local government areas and, along with Maitland and Cessnock, have experienced significant increases in population in recent years, while the population of rural areas has been in decline. Other major urban centres include Nelson Bay, Raymond Terrace, Dungog, Singleton, Muswellbrook, Scone, and Taree.
Although there are significant physical and climatic differences between east and west, issues identified within our communities are often similar. For example, the need to control weeds and pests, strengthen community cohesion, improve infrastructure and services, and sustainably manage soils and rivers are consistent across the region.
The natural resources of the Hunter region support a wide range of industries, including agriculture, coal mining, power generation, forestry, fishing, tourism and recreation. Residential and commercial development dominates the coastal fringe.
Grazing of beef cattle, sheep, alpacas and goats are major agricultural activities, as are dairying, poultry production, dryland cropping, irrigated cropping, fodder production, and turf production on alluvial soils. The region is also well known for its thoroughbred horse industry and vineyards.