Regional Development Australia - Kimberley
Regional Development Australia - Kimberley

--- Kimberley Ecomonics and Industry

The Kimberley region has an increasingly diverse regional economy, with opportunities in many industries including; mining, construction, tourism, retail, agriculture, and rangelands. There are also challenges to the growth of the Kimberley including housing, health and well-being; and education and training.

The following graphic illustrates the current level of population, jobs and gross regional product for the Kimberley and identifies the Kimberley Development Commission’s aspirational targets for 2036.   

--- Kimberley Statsics

Mining activity in the Kimberley has a long and diverse history, commencing with the discovery of gold near Halls Creek in 1885. Construction of an iron ore mine on Cockatoo Island began in 1944, with the first shipments of iron ore made in 1951. In the 1980s, diamonds and zinc/lead deposits were discovered and mines were commissioned at Argyle (diamonds) and Cadjebut (zinc/lead). Further exploration for a variety of resources, including gold near Halls Creek, continues.  The total value of resources commodities in the Kimberley in 2013/14 was $1.18 billion in 2013/14.

Agriculture and Rangelands  The Kimberley has an abundance of the key natural resources necessary for a strong agriculture and food industry: climate, soil and water. As such, agriculture is already one of the Kimberley’s most progressive, vibrant and promising industries.  The industry has large potential for future growthas it has has excess capacity, additional scope for development and has already succeeded in attracting large-scale foreign investment.

The Kimberley currently has 93 pastoral leases, at least 30 are currently beneath peak production. There is an opportunity to improve through better land management, breeding genetics, better fodder and improved livestock performance, using models established in similar Northern Australian operations. The total value of cattle and calve disposal was $161 million in 2012-13.

The Ord River Irrigation Area has been developed in stages and will amount to 29,000 ha of agricultural land.  In Stage 1 in the 1960’s and 1970’s saw construction of the major water supply and drainage infrastructure and 14,000 ha of agricultural land. Stage 2 (Ord Irrigation Expansion Project) from 2009-2013 involved State Government funding of $311 million through Royalties for Regions to release 13,400 ha of agricultural land and supporting infrastructure. The proponent, Kimberley Agricultural Investment, has committed to the development of 7,400ha of the Goomig (Weaber Plain) farm area with an option to develop a further 6,000ha of Knox Plain land.

Tourism is one of the Kimberley’s iconic industries.  Both domestic and international visitors flock to the region to experience unique, unspoilt attractions and tours.  Kimberley Tours and Four Wheel Drive Routes are amongst  the world’s premier four wheel drive adventures, the most famous of which is the mighty Gibb River Road. 

Kimberley Cruises and Coastal Adventures are increasingly popluar; not only is Broome’s Cable Beach is classed as one of the world’s best beaches, there are also many world-class attractions to be found just off the coast in the Kimberley region. At Rowley Shoals Marine Park swim with over 650 species of fish. And Kimberley cruises to the Buccaneer Archipelago and beyond give you the chance to witness amazing tidal movements at the Horizontal Waterfalls and the ancient rivers and gorges of this magnificant region. 

During authentic Indigenous experiences visitors discover ancient Indigenous rock art in the region’s national parks, or visit an Indigenous arts centre to learn about Indigenous art, history and hear Dreamtime stories.

--- KDC Visitor nights