Nambucca LGA is a 1490.5 square kilometres area, located in the Mid-North Coast region of New South Wales, 510 kilometres north of Sydney. It stretches from Bellingen in the north to Kempsey in the south (ABS 2006a). In 2003, the ABS estimated the population in the Nambucca LGA to be 18 128, approximately a 1 per cent increase on the 2000 estimate. The population density as of June 2004 was 12.4 per square kilometre, compared with 8.4 persons per square kilometre for New South Wales.11
The unemployment rate in 2003 was 13.5 per cent, compared with 6 percent for New South Wales, and 7627 people were receiving income support12
(42% of total population), compared with 22.2 per cent for New South Wales (ABS 2006a). Of the six regions surveyed, Nambucca LGA had the highest unemployment rate (range 6–12% for other regions). The average taxable income in this area in 2003 was $31 179, much lower than the state average of $43 649. In combination, these figures indicate that Nambucca LGA was, in 2003, an area of relative disadvantage.