Mid West regional profile
- The Mid West covers about 466,800km2 or nearly one-fifth of WA.
- Geraldton is the regional centre of the Mid West. The city and surrounds contain about 36,000 people, more than half the entire region’s population of 49,000.
- The Indigenous population currently comprises 9% of the whole and is growing three times faster than the non-Indigenous population.
- Growth has been largely restricted to the coastal strip. Those smaller communities close to Geraldton have benefited from the regional centre’s improved fortunes.
- Risks to smaller inland communities are due to ageing and migration, and an economic dependence on mining.
- The Gross Regional Product of the Mid West is the third highest in WA (after the Pilbara and Goldfields).
Gascoyne regional profile
- The Gascoyne covers about 138,000km2 and is roughly one and a half times the size of Tasmania. It has about 600km of coastline and has the lowest population density of any region in Australia.
- Carnarvon’s infrastructure is weak since its population is small and services are generally sought in Perth some 905km to the south. Carnarvon’s other sizable neighbours are Geraldton (480km south) and Broome (14,000 people some 1,400km north-east).
- Some 44% of the Indigenous population is aged 19 or under, 24% for the non-Indigenous population.
- Tourism makes the greatest financial contribution to the Gascoyne. While visitor numbers have increased to above 200,000 per annum, spending has fallen per visitor. It is believed rising costs (particularly fuel) have not discouraged visitors but have curbed spending.
- Tourism is a major employer (9.4%) for the Gascoyne and the WA Department of Local Government and Regional Development estimates it was worth $154m in 2004-5 (latest available figures), compared to agriculture ($56m) and fishing ($53m).
- Fishing and agriculture provide the most jobs (16.7%). Both sectors produce more than the State average per head of population. The Gascoyne population is 0.46% of the WA total (ABS 2006) and yet fishing contributes $17.1% of the total catch value.
- In the resources sector, gypsum and salt mining make the most significant contributions worth in excess of $73m combined.
- Horticulture is a dominant industry in Carnarvon and was worth $34m in 2004-05. Some 84% of land use is in the Gascoyne is pastoral.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics is a rich source of information although users of the website should be aware that statistical areas and council boundaries do not necessarily match.