Mar 14, 2018
Michael Matusik

A long table this Missive post outlining the top 25 urban areas across the country with regards to economic size.

Top 25 urban areas by economic size

Rank Urban
State or territory Size of economy
$A billions
% share of Australian economy
1 Sydney NSW 401 24.1%
2 Melbourne Vic 304 18.3%
3 Brisbane Qld 158 9.5%
4 Perth WA 149 9.0%
5 Adelaide SA 78 4.7%
6 Canberra ACT 36 2.2%
7 Gold Coast/Tweed Qld/NSW 35 2.1%
8 Newcastle NSW 30 1.8%
9 Sunshine Coast Qld 17 1.0%
10 Townsville Qld 17 1.0%
11 Mackay Qld 16 1.0%
12 Wollongong NSW 14 0.8%
13 Hobart Tas 13 0.8%
14 Geelong Vic 12 0.7%
15 Toowoomba Qld 10 0.6%
16 Darwin NT 10 0.6%
17 Cairns Qld 9 0.5%
18 Rockhampton Qld 8 0.5%
19 Launceston Tas 6 0.4%
20 Gladstone Qld 5 0.3%
21 Ballart Vic 5 0.3%
22 Bendigo Vic 5 0.3%
23 Albary/Wodonga Vic/NSW 5 0.3%
24 Bunbury WA 5 0.3%
25 Bundaberg Qld 4 0.2%


Our economy is really concentrated in just a few places.

The 25 urban areas in the table hold over 80% of our economic activity.

When you combine south east Queensland ($220 billion or about 14% of Australia’s economy) with Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, these four major urban areas hold two-thirds of the Australian economic activity.

That is why – as we have outlined in recent months – most of the future population growth and new job creation is very likely to be confided to these four areas.

Unless we decentralise our economy, spend big time on new infrastructure in the big four or reduce our migration intake, then Sydney, Melbourne, SEQld and Perth are going to become much more congested and expensive.

When taking a wider view, this is happening around the globe – the rise of the mega city – and this trend is expected to accelerate in the future.

The challenges are big but not unsurmountable.

The table has been compiled by using gross regional product by local government area, as at 2016 financial year (latest data available) from statistics by NIEIR.

Please note that not all Missives are posted on our website.  This Missive was one of three posts emailed to subscribers this week.

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Until next time,


Michael Matusik

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