The RDA Kimberley Board commissioned this report to explore the challenges, the opportunities and recommendations for change required to underpin the regeneration of the local economy with a robust business sector while retaining a supportive community.
The Kimberley has enormous potential but has suffered from the perfect storm of economic factors which halved our Regional Domestic Product since 2014 and created exceptionally challenging conditions for business.
This report has been compiled based on extensive research that updates existing documentation and highlights the considerable changes that have occurred over the past five years.
I am acutely aware of the tight financial margins for companies in the region and the extraordinary high establishment and compliance costs that are required to move projects forward.
Despite those barriers, we see investment into rare earth metals, mineral sands, gold, oil and gas, potash, and other high-value products with some projects entering a production phase with a potential for regional revenue of a billion dollars or more per annum.
Agriculture is also in transition, with the expansion of irrigated agriculture allowing diversification that has never been available at scale and the potential to add significant value to the pastoral and irrigated agriculture sectors.
The opportunities are extensive, however, under-investment in infrastructure over many years creates a cost burden for all projects that are disproportionally high, whether that be for transport, telecommunications, or energy supply.
Clearing multi-layered “Red and Green Tape” persists to be costly and time-consuming, adding considerable burden to project development, which continues to frustrate investors and stifle advancement. In a region where we are on the cusp of significant change in the agricultural and aquaculture sectors and the mining, oil, and gas sectors, we need to ensure that procedures are equitable, streamlined and well known.
I am particularly concerned with the unintended negative impacts of the Indigenous Procurement Policy occurring throughout the region. Current tender processes are rendering some non-indigenous business devoid of any Government contract opportunities, causing business closures. Indigenous engagement targets often outweigh the appropriately skilled Indigenous labour base. A review of the procurement process is required to achieve the intended benefits to close the gap in indigenous employment and bring economic development to the region.
I would like to thank the many government agencies which shared information in the development of this report, some of which have not previously been in the public arena. I also acknowledge the hard-working team at RDA Kimberley, which ensured this report came to fruition.
Explores the challenges, the opportunities and recommendations for change required to underpin the regeneration of the local economy with a robust business sector while retaining a supportive community.
The aquaculture industry contributes $34.4M1 to the GRP. Main industry sectors are pearling and barramundi farming in the west kimberley , with opportunity for large scale farmed prawns in the east Kimberley.
Vital to the region’s economic and social wellbeing, the small business sector is the Kimberley’s largest employer. It keeps money close to home and supports communities by helping to create webs of financial interdependence that foster broad-based prosperity.
The Kimberley is an iconic holiday destination. The tourism industry represents 10% of gross revenue generated by 500 businesses and directly employs 12% of workforce, with many other indirect flow-on benefits across the region.