The Central Coast region's economic future will be dependent on many factors, not least its proximity to Sydney, the impact of which is complex and varied.
Until recently the Central Coast was not officially a region. While local inhabitants of the Gosford and Wyong local government areas popularly referred to their locality as the Central Coast, there was officially no region of that name. In 2005, however, the NSW Geographical Names Board officially recognised the Gosford-Wyong area as the Central Coast region. Five years later, the Keneally Government declared the Gosford-Wyong area to be the Central Coast region, for planning purposes, under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act.
Two major features of the Central Coast economy can be noted, both connected to the region's proximity to the Sydney metropolitan region. One is the migration over the last few decades of residential population to the Central Coast, transforming it from a holiday and retirement area to "an urban fringe area of Sydney". The other is the daily migration of a large section of the working population out of the region. According to Regional Development Australia Central Coast NSW, based on 2006 census figures, around 38,000 residents commuted to jobs outside the region, representing around 29% of employed residents (37% male, 19% female). As discussed later in this e-brief (section 4.5), this mismatch between the region's residential and working population creates certain statistical difficulties.