Economic Spotlight on Kiama


Case Studies

The Client

The Municipality of Kiama


The municipality of Kiama needed support in developing an Economic Development Strategy to better support growth and resilience within their local businesses. 

Our Method

.id analysed the economic drivers with an economic story about Kiama and its place in the regional and larger macro environment. Our approach was designed to better inform Council about the locations strategic strengths, weaknesses and gaps and how these have developed overtime, rather than repeating factual statements and presenting data.


.id presented an economic analysis of the Kiama economy that covered its recent performance, competitive industries, workforce skills and economic outlook.


The outcome for Council is evidence based insights that informed and supported the creation of their Economic Development Strategy.

Economic Spotlight on Kiama

In 2023, our consultants conducted a health check for Kiama as the region looked to explore recent trends and identify what factors or industry changes were driving the economy. Here's what we found.

Economic Rebound and Growth

Starting in the mid-2010s, Kiama's economy increased rapidly as a result of the approval of more residential constructions and larger non-residential facilities. A recovery has occurred in recent years after COVID-19 regulations. Professional and financial services jobs and an elderly population's need for health services keep the construction industry strong with the presence of many new families need schooling, daycare, and recreation.

Diverse Job Growth

Health Care and Social Assistance jobs have grown reflecting broader Australian trends. This includes more allied health, residential care, daycare, and disability services positions. Construction remains a key driver, supported by high building approvals in the surrounding Illawarra region primarily for residential and population-serving facilities. The professional and financial services sectors have also grown, benefiting from remote working conditions and improved technology, which attract regional offices and facilities.

Tourism and Hospitality

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kiama's tourism and hospitality sectors were rapidly growing. Although lockdowns in late 2021 significantly impacted domestic tourism, the sector is expected to successfully recover. The main challenge now is addressing skills shortages to attract suitable staff to meet growing demand. The resilience of specialised food and beverage services during the pandemic is a positive indicator for future growth.

Arts and Recreation

Kiama's arts and recreation sector is a specialised industry in the region with employment levels higher than the regional NSW average. This is mainly due to attractions such as the Jamberoo Action Park. Continued investment in cultural amenities will likely enhance this sector's contribution to the local economy.

Population Growth and Housing Challenges

Kiama has seen steady population growth driven by young families, which supports local businesses and services. However, the region faces significant challenges related to housing supply and affordability. Kiama has recorded one of the largest increases in median house prices in Australia, which affects the availability of affordable housing for key workers. Community preferences to maintain the region's character further constrain housing development, leading to longer commutes for workers. 

Opportunities to continue to grow Professional Services

Kiama's environment is positioned well for growth in tech-related professional services, supported by an attractive lifestyle for qualified high income workers and a pool of local entrepreneurs. Supply of quality commercial office space may be key to supporting growth.

About our economic consulting team

Our economic consulting team is engaged by councils and organisations across Australia to provide in-depth insights behind the data. Our experts draw on their knowledge of urban and regional economic development and years of experience working with decision makers across Australia. This information is used by councils to develop evidence based economic development strategies, investment attraction plans and support grant applications.

If you need help on a project, please contact us and we will get in touch.

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