Cobar Shire Council is here to assist you with starting or growing your business in the Shire. Council wants to facilitate business opportunities within Cobar Shire and promote the region.
This business information pack, provided below in printable format or by following the links on this page, gives some background information on the Shire and the business services provided. Council will strive to assist you with your business ideas and needs. We offer quality customer service, free pre-development application advice, rapid response to development assistance requests and will work with government departments to source resources for your project.
Please call Council’s Special Projects Officer on (02) 6836 5888 for more information.
Cobar Shire is located in the Orana Region of central northern New South Wales, about 700 kilometres north-west of Sydney and 650 kilometres north of Canberra. Cobar is on the crossroads of two major highways – the Kidman Way linking Melbourne to Brisbane and the Barrier Highway linking Sydney to Adelaide via Broken Hill.
Cobar Shire is home to around 5,000 people, the majority of whom live in the town of Cobar. The main township is Cobar, with small villages at Euabalong, Euabalong West, Mount Hope and Nymagee. The Shire encompasses a total land area of about 45,000 square kilometres.
The Shire's prosperity is built around the thriving mining - copper, lead, silver, zinc, gold - and pastoral industries, which are strongly supported by a wide range of attractions and activities, that make it a major tourist destination.
Rail and air infrastructure include a daily freight train to Sydney, a fully functional airport with 8 Sydney direct flights a week, a daily bus service to Dubbo and Broken Hill and freight and courier options available for all goods and services.
Cobar boasts a strong and reliable workforce which has a wide range of skills, particularly in mining and supporting industries, trades, retail and agriculture. A good supply of general labour is available to meet the needs of new and expanding businesses.
A Community Profile for Cobar is available at http://www.cobar.nsw.gov.au/news-and-info/community-profile. It provides ABS information on the residents of Cobar and the industries they work in.
The 2006 census shows Cobar having a resident population of 5,194 which was an increase of 34 persons from 2001. Cobar’s population compared to neighbouring towns during the same time was:
Some quick statistics on the population:
Cobar’s workforce has remained relatively steady at around 2,725 for 2008 and 2009. Cobar’s population has a diverse mix of long and short term residents, nationalities and skills. You won’t find Iron Ringers anywhere else!
Cobar has three employment agencies
Cobar Paper Chase
Australian Inland Employment Service
The main industries in Cobar are mining, agriculture, retail and tourism. With the recent strength of both the mining and local tourism industry, Cobar has enjoyed a relatively low unemployment rate. Around 29% of the population is not in the labour force. Of those who are, 67% are employed full time.
30% of the population is employed in the mining industry, 10% in agriculture and 8% in retail trade. An analysis of the occupations held by the resident population in Cobar Shire in 2006 shows the three most popular occupations were:
Due to the nature of the mining industry, at any point in time there can be a significant fly-in, fly-out workforce to Cobar. This can also be the case with medical professionals and government workers.
In addition, 21% of the population undertook voluntary work in the 2006 census period.
A Cobar Business Directory is available at http://www.cobar.nsw.gov.au/local-business-directory/.
Cobar has abundant privately owned industrial and commercial land available and Council is willing work with new businesses to access suitable land and will assist with negotiations where appropriate.
There are currently three major mines operating in the Shire, with several others looking to start production in the near future. All mines employ a range of contractors across a variety of trades. Consequently, Cobar supports a strong industrial sector made up of many small to medium sized businesses. There are good opportunities in the mining industry in Cobar and a number of local businesses developed into bigger operations across Australia. Cobar is proud of the strength of the industrial businesses which service both Cobar and towns across Australia.
CSA Mine is an underground copper mine employing over 300 people, operated by Cobar Management Pty Ltd (CMPL) - a wholly owned Australian subsidiary of Glencore International AG (Switzerland).
CSA Mine extracts over 870,000 tonnes of copper ore and produces in excess of 150,000 tonnes of copper concentrate per annum. This concentrate is exported to smelters around the world.
Copper ore is extracted by underground mining methods using open stopes with backfill. Ore is hoisted to the surface treatment plant where it is processed using semi-autogenous grinding and froth flotation to produce a high quality concentrate. The operation is highly mechanised and uses the latest technology to mine and process ore in the most productive and cost effective manner.
Endeavor Mine is situated 47 kilometres north of Cobar. It commenced operations in 1983 and is owned and operated by Sydney-based mineral resource company CBH Resources Limited (CBH).
The mine is the largest zinc, lead and silver producer in the Region, employing approximately 200 people including contractors.
Endeavor is an entirely underground operation accessed by traditional shaft haulage with concentrator, drying, storage and rail facilities on the mine lease.
Currently producing at a rate of 720,000 tonnes of ore per annum, with 85,000 tonnes of concentrates and 50,000 tonnes of lead concentrates, Endeavor also produces 24,000 kg of silver contained in the lead concentrates.
Endeavor currently has mine reserves in excess of 6.0 million tonnes and is actively exploring in and around the mine to further add to the resource base.
A gold and copper mine employing around 300 staff with an annual production of around 100,000 ounces of gold and 13 million pounds of copper. Peak continues to add value to the operation at Cobar through new infrastructure, improved mining methods and mill enhancements.
Cobar continues to experience strong growth in new retail businesses, across a broad range of goods and services. The category of New Business is the most fiercely contended at the annual business awards. Council supports both shop front and home based businesses.
Many new businesses are supported through the Cobar Enterprise Faciltation project http://www.cobar.nsw.gov.au/economy/business-groups#cobar-enterprise-faciltation.
Council has recently upgraded the infrastructure in the CBD area and undertaken a beautification project. New drainage, telecommunications and electrical infrastructure has been installed, along with the beautification of the streets – new paving, street furniture and landscaping. Council hopes this will encourage further retail developments and increase economic activity. Outside of the CBD there are numerous retail shops offering a wide array of services, facilities and products.
All retail businesses in Cobar are small to medium sized operations.
Cobar Shire covers a large area and incorporates many land and soil types from flat to open plains and much more. There are many agricultural businesses in the Shire, mostly supporting sheep and goat production. Grazing for wool production has contributed significantly to the Cobar Shire for many years. There is also cropping in the southern portion of the Shire. There have been a number of innovative agriculture industries set up in the Shire such as emu production, native brush and biofuel industries.
Sustainable land management is a key feature of agriculture in the Shire. Members of the Buckwaroon Landcare Group have enterprises covering a large section of the Shire around the township of Cobar and have taken out many awards for their sustainable land use practices.
There are a number of services in Cobar supporting the agriculture industry including rural traders, livestock carriers and buyers, farm good suppliers, Livestock Health and Plant Authority and the Western Catchment Management Authority.
Cobar Shire Council supports a wide variety of development and encourages new enterprises to the area.
Cobar has a range of housing opportunities, from rural to rural residential, large sized town blocks and unit developments. In late 2006 Council released 64 lots which sold out in three days. A further Council subdivision of 47 lots is planned. There are a number of private subdivisions being undertaken around the Shire.
Two new off-road bike paths have recently been developed, servicing the Lerida Road rural residential estates and town areas, allowing safe bike access for school students and those wishing to explore bushland near Cobar. Most estates have access to town water and electricity infrastructure. Blocks of various sizes are available with excellent road access to Cobar..
There are two real estate agents in Cobar:
Red Earth Real Estate
Cobar has an excellent nursing home at the Lilliane Brady Village. The Village is operated by Council as a non-profit 34-bed facility. The centre is a co-located Hostel and Nursing Home both of which are certified and accredited. The facility is located at 2 Nullumut St. The contact number is (02) 6836 3059.
Alternatively, self-supported aged accommodation is available at the Bill Brennan Centre. The Centre is a retirement village located close to the CBD. There are 15 individual units with a large community and dining hall. With minimal rent paid, a condition of entry is that you not own your home. For information about the Bill Brennan Centre, contact Max Humphries on (02) 6836 2762.
Cobar has a good airport with a sealed strip located 5km from town along the Lerida Road. The strip is suitable for large aircraft, aviation gas and jet fuel are available on-site, as is a serviced passenger terminal. Over 6kms of kangaroo proof fencing has been installed, the runway has recently been extended to allow large sized planes (or those with heavy loads) to land and take off, the runway is lit and 24 hour access is available to the runway for aircraft. Council welcomes a wide range of users to the airport, including charter flights, sight seeing aircraft and small aircraft refuelling.
Brindabella airlines (www.brindabellaairlines.com.au) operate 8 direct commercial flights to Sydney a week from the airport, plus charter flights when required.
Tourism is an important industry in Cobar that continues to grow. The tourism market is largely underdeveloped and considerable opportunities exist in the industry. A community group is currently developing and implementing an action plan to further the tourism industry and contribution it can make to the Cobar economy.
Cobar continues to experience significant increases in tourists traveling through the Shire every year. There are business opportunities available to tap into and service this market. Cobar has been given RV friendly status by the caravan and campervan industry and good facilities for this market are provided in Cobar, including parking areas and dump sites. Cobar is ideally located on two major highways and is a convenient stop-over point. Cobar is serviced by a caravan park, there are a number of farm stays in the Shire, motels and hotels.
Attractions include the Great Cobar Heritage Centre, two national parks, the Bureau of Meteorology station, the Great Cobar Open Cut mine, the Golden Walk at Peak Mine, Mt Drysdale, Fort Bourke lookout and much more.
Cobar has excellent conference facilities at the newly renovated Cobar Bowling and Golf Club, the Memorial Services Club, town hall cinema, hotels and government offices. Other unique facilities can be arranged such as shearing sheds, the showground and various outdoor venues. Council and the venue managers offer support when arranging conferences.
There are a number of major annual events held in Cobar. These include the annual Festival of the Miners Ghost, the Ruck 'n Buck weekend (rugby tens and rodeo), agricultural show, Cobar races, Cobar rodeo, market days, a wedding expo, Australia Day celebrations, Anzac Day and Remembrance Day services and activities, and town street Christmas party.
Cobar is serviced by the Cobar Primary Health Care Centre which operates with a minimum of 2 general practitioners and a wide range of allied health care professionals, five days a week and a private doctor's practice run by Dr Karalasingham seven days a week.
The Cobar Community Health Centre operates five days a week offering a wide range of services.
The Cobar District Hospital is a 29 bed acute care hospital open 24 hours a day with a medical emergency department. Two ambulances are also located in Cobar.
Dr Thais Corby of Orana Dental operates the Cobar dental practice 5 days a week and offers both general and specialist dental care and services.
The John Mitchell Pharmacy provides all pharmaceutical care and products five and a half days a week.
A range of other medical services are provided in Cobar, including optometrists, chiropractors, masseuses and meals on wheels.
The town has excellent sporting infrastructure, including an 18 hole golf course, bowling greens, tennis courts, football fields, cricket grounds complete with state-of-the-art night cricket lights, netball courts with lights suitable for night competitions, indoor youth centre which incorporates squash and basketball courts, gym and judo/aerobics areas, race course, show grounds and aquatic centre which incorporates a 50m pool, multipurpose pool, no-depth splash park, new water slide, BBQs, beach volley ball court, various exercise classes and extensive lush lawns. For more information on the sporting groups operating in Cobar, visit http://www.cobar.nsw.gov.au/our-town-and-shire/community-services-directory?catid=25.
Cobar Pre-School Centre provides quality educational programs for children 3 to 5 years of age. The centre provides full and half day sessions.
Kubby House Child Care Centre is a 29 place long day care centre, community based and overseen by a management committee of volunteer parents.
Cobar Mobile Children's Service provides educational play sessions for children in the Cobar Shire ranging from birth to 6 years of age. The Service travels to properties in the Shire and also runs a Monday and Wednesday playgroup at their depot. CMCS run a preschool for indigenous and low income families that operates two days a week.
Far West Family Day Care Services offers a child care service for children aged 0 - 12 years. The service also provides a weekly playgroup session for 0-5 year olds and an after school care program for 6-12 year olds during school terms.
Cobar is well serviced with schools. There are two primary schools and one high school. St John's is a small Catholic parish primary school - co-educational with classes from Kindergarten to Year 6. Cobar Primary School has been providing a quality education to the boys and girls of Cobar for the past 125 years. Cobar High School provides for students from Years 7-12, providing a range of subjects and opportunities to students.
In addition, the Cobar Memorial Hostel provides accommodation for out-of-town students in a caring environment within easy walking distance of all schools
Cobar College, as part of the Western Institue of TAFE, provides vocational education and training that enhances the productivity of the workforce. Training can be delivered in many flexible ways including workplace training.
Cobar boasts a number of business opportunities for developers and entrepreneurs.
In particular, Council is interested in a number of infrastructure projects and is keen to discuss these ideas with developers.
Interested parties are encouraged to contact the Council on (02) 6836 5888 to further discuss any of these ideas.
The Cobar business community is serviced by two business groups.
The Cobar Business Association is a volunteer run group of business owners, boasting over 50 members, and representing the broad range of business interests in the Shire. The association provides information and training opportunities to members and organises events such as shop local campaigns, local business awards and the community street Christmas party.
The Cobar Enterprise Facilitation project provides free, confidential and competent business advice and coaching to entrepreneurs wishing to establish a business in Cobar, or existing businesses wishing to change their operations or expand. Mark Workman is the Enterprise Facilitator and is available to meet at any location suitable to the business person.
For more information on these groups, visit http://www.cobar.nsw.gov.au/economy/business-groups
The Cobar Quids have been in use since about 2003, as an initiative of the Cobar Business Association to encourage Cobar residents to "shop locally". A Cobar Quid is a minted medallion with a face value, to be exchanged for goods and services at a participating local business.
Many local businesses accept the Quids. The Quids are a gift voucher that can be used across Cobar which ensures the money is spent locally - they can only be spent in Cobar. Individuals cannot redeem them for cash, only businesses can. They come in denominations with face values of $5, $10, $25 & $50. The lower ones are particularly popular with the schools and clubs. Council administers the program.
For more information call the Council on 02 6836 5888 or go to http://www.cobar.nsw.gov.au/economy/business-groups#cobar-quids.