Shoalhaven Economic Development
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Inter-City Relationships

Shoalhaven City Council has several inter-city relationships around the world and within Australia.

Coolangatta, Queensland

The Shoalhaven has a unique tie with Coolangatta Queensland. Mt Coolangatta in Shoalhaven was originally named by the Aboriginals as a place of “far seen”. Alexander Berry establishing the first white settlement on the South Coast of New South Wales placed that settlement on the foothills of Mt Coolangatta and named the settlement Coolangatta after the mountain. Berry also named his cedar boat “The Coolangatta”, which was used as a trading vessel up and down the East coast. It eventually came to grief just north of the mouth of the Tweed River and the place where the survivors got ashore was named Coolangatta after the wreck. The anchor of The Coolangatta still exists in the park after the foreshore of the town of Coolangatta within the City of Gold Coast, Queensland.

This unique history was formally recognised in 1984 between the Mayors of Shoalhaven City Council and Gold Coast City Council.

Whereas the Council of City of Shoalhaven, New South Wales, and the Council of the City of Gold Coast, Queensland, have formally resolved that the Town of Coolangatta, New South Wales, and the Town of Coolangatta, Queensland, be recognised as towns with an especial historical link and bond of friendship, the two Councils do now jointly proclaim their decree and seal it by Public Ceremony this twenty-sixth day of March, 1984.

Harry Sawkins
Mayor of City of Shoalhaven

Denis James O’Connell
Mayor of City of Gold Coast

Coolamon, New South Wales

A Friendship Agreement was signed between Shoalhaven City Council and Coolamon Shire Council on 22 April 2008. This relationship was further enhanced with the Ulladulla Milton Lions Club forging a relationship with Coolamon District Lions Club.

Gunnedah, New South Wales

A Friendship Agreement was signed between Shoalhaven City Council and Gunnedah Shire Council on 26th October 2009. It is hoped that arrangements between community groups could be established between organisations based in the Shoalhaven and Gunnedah area.


Council has several Sister City and Friendship City relationships, many of whom are in mainland China.

The first sister city established involving Shoalhaven was established in 1987 with Jiamusi in the Heilongjiang Province in Northern China. A number of delegations from Shoalhaven have visited Jiamusi (1985, 1988, 2005 & 2009). In 2005 much work was commenced to assist in the establishment of a dairy industry in Jiamusi City. Several delegations from Jiamusi have visited Shoalhaven.

In 2004 the City of Fuzhou in Fujian Province began a Twin City Agreement based on cultural exchange. Delegations from Shoalhaven have visited Fuzhou on at least 3 occasions and representative from Fuzhou have included Shoalhaven on their Australian itinerary.

Dengfeng, Shaolin Temple
In more recent times Shoalhaven has worked closely with the Abbot of the Shaolin Temple in Henan Province and a major development is now proposed near Nowra. Several visits have been included by delegations both in China and Australia in recent years. Council has a formal relationship with Dengfeng, a City near the Shaolin Temple.

Xicheng (formally Xuan Wu District)
In 2008 Council resolved to sign a Friendship City relationship with the inner Beijing District of Xicheng (formally Xuan Wu District). This Friendship agreement was signed in the Shoalhaven on Monday 19th April 2010.

In 2015 Shoalhaven City and Fuyang City, Anhui Province, entered into a Friendship City Relationship to carry out exchanges and cooperation in the fields of economy, trade, science and technology, culture, sports, health, education and any other areas of mutual interest.    

Shoalhaven City Council has been part of several delegations to China and has hosted many visits from City representatives.

  • 1988: a trade delegation visited Jaimusi looking at automotive and mining equipment manufacture as well as acupuncture procedures.
  • 2004: a delegation visited Fuzhou and Jaimusi for the purpose of assisting in a World Bank dairy industry development in Heilongjiang Province.
  • 2007: a delegation visited Sister Cities Jaimusi, Fuzhou as well as the Shaolin Temple in Henan. The visit highlights included; inspecting major developments, model dairy farm, medical facilities, Shaolin Temple and Abbott, Tourism resort and attending the “5.18” Cross-Straits Trade Fair. This delegation also meet with Xuan Wu representatives while in Beijing, commencing the relationship which resulted in the Friendship agreement.
  • 2010: A delegation visited Sister Cities Xuan Wu and Fuzhou as well as the Shaolin Temple in Henan. This visit resulted in strengthened ties between our Cities but also highlighted the need for a strategic plan for future dealings and visits. As part of the visit the delegation met up with local business BHI architects, this visit assisted BHI in their dealings in China. The delegation was hosted to attend the conference on Tourism in Zhengzhou, Henan.
  • 2011: A delegation visited from Sister City Fuzhou, this delegation was greeted with a civic reception and formal lunch and introduction to the economy of the Shoalhaven. They were then taken on a tour of the tourism locations at Jervis Bay.
  • 2014: A delegation of the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Economic Development Manager visited China.  Specific visitations were made to Fuzhou, Dengfeng and Fuyang.  The objective of the visit was to advance the development of the Shaolin Temple project and economic and educational relationships. 

United States of America

Aiken, South Carolina
In 1996 Council resolved to establish partnership agreement with Aiken, South Carolina, USA.

A representative from Aiken visited the Shoalhaven in 2008, and presented Council with a quilted representation of the Aiken emblem.

The Director of Finance and Corporate Services visited Aiken in 2011 on a personal trip to North America. He was greeted by a civic reception and experienced first hand the hospitality of Aiken.

New Zealand

Paeroa, New Zealand
Council established a Twin-Town relationship between Nowra and Paeroa, New Zealand in 1974.

This relationship built on a relationship between the Rotary Club of Bomaderry and Paeroa and was formalised by an exchange of letter between the Council’s.

It is with great pleasure that I formally advise you that Paeroa Borough Council has adopted Nowra as our Twin-Town.

G.E. Lee
Mayor of Paeroa
24 July 1974

Council is proud to have such a Twin-Town relationship in existence and welcomes the opportunity to encourage warm international relationships between the two towns.

R.T. Knowles
Shire Clerk, Shoalhaven Shire Council
6 September 1974

There have been many exchanges between the two towns; both civic representatives and through the association between the Rotary Clubs.


Council hosts several German exchange students each year; these students are currently studying Local Government at University. As part of their studies the students are required to undertake practical on the job training in Local Government, this can include international councils such as Shoalhaven.

Each year Council hosts these students, at no cost to Council, and gain access to experience and knowledge from these 3rd year equivalent University students.

Some of the German exchange students have created a document explaining the exchange program and some of the differences between German and Australian Local Government.


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Shoalhaven Economic Profile

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Shoalhaven Strategies
Shoalhaven at a Glance
   99,925 (Sep 2016)
Labour Force:
   39,458 (Sep 2016)
Unemployment rate:
   9.56% (Sep 2016)
Gross Regional Product:
   $4.6 billion
(Dec 2016)
Gross disposable wages & salaries:
   $2.2 billion 
(Dec 2016)
Value added:
   Property Services $758m
   Health/Social Assist $405m
   Manufacturing $381m
efence $373m
   Retail $301m
   Accom/Food Services $196m

(Dec 2016)