Our industry strengths

Our diverse industry base is built around our region's best assets.


Port Stephens has a highly desirable visitor economy, a well-established aviation and defence precinct and a thriving manufacturing cluster all in close proximity to lucrative markets in Sydney, the Hunter Valley, northern NSW and the central west.

Key industries in Port Stephens

Manufacturing delivers 3225 jobs, $3495 million output, $301 million in wages and salaries and $446 million value added

Port Stephens is home to internationally recognised and highly specialised manufacturing businesses mainly concentrated in Tomago, Williamtown and Heatherbrae.

Prime industrial land and easy access to all transport networks provide the ideal setting for manufacturers, investors and major international industry headquarters to stake their claim.

Current corporates include metals manufacturing, heavy engineering, light industrial and bulky goods retailing linked to the resource and defence sectors such as Varley Group, Ampcontrol, Tomago Aluminium and WesTrac.

In other parts of Port Stephens, manufacturers are mainly smaller light industrial operations in various industrial estates including Salamander Bay and Taylors Beach. Many of these service local and regional markets and are sustained by strong population growth, housing developments and business growth in the lower Hunter region.

Manufacturing in Port Stephens remains strong as industry transitions to high value-added, knowledge-based service sectors particularly in the defence, aviation and aerospace industries.

Defence, aviation and aerospace delivers 2876 jobs, $663 million in wages and salaries, $337 million in local expenditure and $946 million value added.

Williamtown is an established defence, aerospace and aviation hub as well as an education and innovation cluster. All levels government have recognised its significance with plans to activate further economic growth and employment.

The value of engineering and technology industry output is about to be significantly increased with greater access to government procurement under the Defence White Paper. With a building phase budget of $195 billion over 10 years, it will be the largest defence investment since World War II.

Hunter engineering and technology companies are set to benefit from the Australian Government's policy of maximising local content by requiring prime contractors to outreach to SME companies.

The Williamtown base is the Royal Australian Air Force's base for the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) fleet. BAE Systems in the Williamtown Aerospace Centre has been named as the Australian JSF maintenance hub and Pacific Hemisphere Sustainment facility.

Williamtown has been identified by the NSW Government as a Special Activation Precinct. These precincts streamline planning processes to unlock investment accelerate growth that in turn drives more jobs, opportunities and funding in the area.

The Williamtown Aerospace Centre is a hub of commercial defence capability established to create, enhance and facilitate industrial and business activities on 120 acres of land adjoining RAAF Base Williamtown and Newcastle Airport. Foundation tenants include Lockheed Martin, Bohemia Interactive Simulations, Raytheon Australia and University of Newcastle.

In 2018 to 2019, the visitor economy delivered 1.7 million visitors, 2.7 million visitor nights, $621 million visitor expenditure and 2186 jobs.

The popularity of Port Stephens is directly linked to our incredible natural environment and proximity to the M1 motorway and Newcastle Airport.

The waters of Port Stephens cover almost 160 square kilometres — about 2.5 times the size of Sydney Harbour! The port is home to over 165 bottlenose dolphins year-round, while 20,000 humpback whales pass through on their annual migration. Port Stephens is also an internationally renowned game fishing spot with many world record catches of marlin and shark.

The famous Worimi Conservation Lands are the largest moving sand dunes in the southern hemisphere. Tour operators provide sand boarding, 4WD, horse and camel riding and quad biking, plus unique cultural experiences from the Worimi people — the traditional owners of the land.

Visitors and residents enjoy an abundance of festivals and events including the internationally recognised Sail Port Stephens, Port Stephens Pro Surfing event, Love Sea Food Tastes, the Williams River Barefoot Marathon and Spartan Port Stephens.

New investment projects include:

  • $9 million Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary — a world-class visitor experience combined with facilities to care for sick and injured koalas
  • $7 million Bannisters Port Stephens — a luxury restaurant, function and accommodation facility
  • $6.7 million Tomaree Coastal Walk project stretching 20 kilometres from Tomaree Head to Birubi Point will be developed over 4 years, delivering a key piece of tourism infrastructure for Port Stephens
  • $6.4 million Birubi Information Centre and the Worimi Eco Tourism Resort, both catering to growing visitation to the culturally significant Worimi Conservation Lands
  • Murrook Cultural Centre — a world-class aboriginal arts, culture and education facility at Williamtown.

Our industry partners

Discover more about our key industry partners driving benefits for tourism, aerospace and logistics.

Newcastle Airport

The gateway to Australia's largest regional economy, jointly owned by Port Stephens Council and City of Newcastle.

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Astra Aerolab

A globally significant innovation, aerospace and defence precinct being developed on 76 hectares of prime land in Port Stephens.

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Port Stephens

Our key tourism and visitor economy body, proudly supported by Port Stephens Council.

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