The City of Broken Hill is the largest regional centre in the western half of New South Wales. It lies in the centre of the sparsely settled New South Wales Outback, close to the South Australian border and midway between the Queensland and Victorian borders. The nearest largest population centre is Mildura in Victoria, three hundred kilometres distant to the south on the Murray River. The nearest large city is Adelaide, capital of South Australia, approximately 500 kilometres to the southwest. Because of its location Broken Hill has strong cultural and historical connections with South Australia and operates on Central Australian Time, one half hour behind Eastern Standard Time.
The City covers an area of 178.86km². As of July 2006, there were 10,539 rateable properties with a total lane value of $92, 135, 350. The most recent estimates (2006) placed the population at 20,223. This represents a 30% decline since 1971, mainly related to the run down in the local mining industry. However, in recent years the population has stabilised somewhat and the rate of decline has slowed down. Over the next 5 years it is assumed that the City's population will remain fairly stable with at worst a small decline.
Broken Hill is world famous for its silver, lead and zinc mines that have been worked for over a century. At present within the city and region, a high level of activity in the mineral resources sector has meant new and continuing mining operations together with planned re-opening of previous operations. This together with a high level of mining exploration in the near region has buoyed confidence in the city and the potential for employment generation. Existing mining operations are expected to continue to operate until after 2012 and new re-opened operations until at least 2020.
Some new jobs were created in the mineral sands industry located to the south of Broken Hill and with the establishment and operation within the City of the Bemax Separation Plant.
Broken Hill currently has an extensive range of locally based retail and service industries. These include medical, health, educational, welfare and shopping facilities. The retail sector has been enhanced by recent major redevelopments and further retail developments are presently being considered by Council for other major national retail providers.
Tourism is widely regarded as an alternative to the mining industry. Although the local industry has been negatively affected by the ongoing drought, a number of international factors have helped to increase visitor numbers over the last year. An enhanced direct Sydney/Broken Hill air service has recently commenced and a major retirement village complex has been approved. The Living Desert Sanctuary and Regional Art Gallery provide significant additional attractions that will help grow visitor numbers and the local economy.