Diverse Industry Sectors

The South West region has abundant mineral deposits, fertile soils for agriculture, and strong manufacturing, retail and tourism industries.

Mining is one of the largest industry sectors in the region, with latest estimates showing mining and minerals processing to be valued at about $2.7 billion per annum.

Click on the links below for more information on the region's main industry sectors:

Mining & Minerals

Mining and minerals form the region's largest industry sector. Coal, alumina and mineral sands are the largest contributors.

Mining in the region includes the extraction of coal, mineral sands, spodumene (a lithium-containing mineral), tantalum and tin.

Minerals processing is the production of alumina from bauxite and synthetic rutile from ilmenite, and minerals manufacturing includes the production of titanium dioxide pigment and silicon.


The South West produces all of Western Australia's coal supplies. There are two coal producers mining in the Collie area, Premier Coal and Griffin Coal.

Verve Energy uses the majority of coal for electricity generation, with the remainder used by industry in the production of alumina, mineral sands, cement and nickel.

Mineral sands

The mineral sands industry is an integrated mining, processing and manufacturing sector, with three principal areas of operation:

  • mining and separation of ilmenite, zircon, natural rutile and monazite;
  • secondary processing of minerals to upgraded ilmenite (synthetic rutile) and refined zircon products; and
  • the manufacture of titanium dioxide pigment.

Mineral sands extracted are largely titanium based and include ilmenite, upgraded ilmenite (or synthetic rutile), leucoxene and rutile. Zircon is also recovered as a co-product from titanium mining operations.

Titanium dioxide pigment, used in the production of paints, plastics, paper, rubber, printing inks, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals is manufactured at Kemerton Industrial Park, 17 kilometres north-east of Bunbury.


BHP Worsley Alumina processes bauxite, mined in Boddington and transported by conveyor belt to the refinery near Collie, into alumina. The company has its own wharf ship loading facilities, ancillary conveyor belts and tanks at the Bunbury Port.

Just outside the South West region is Alcoa's Wagerup Refinery. Together the two refineries form one of the world's largest alumina producing hubs.

Spodumene, tin and tantalum

A significant portion of world demand for spodumene is met from the Greenbushes minesite. Spodumene is used as feedstock for the production of lithium carbonate and various other lithium chemical products. The Greenbushes mine has the world's largest tantalum deposit.

Silica sands

Silica sands are mined on the outskirts of Kemerton Industrial Park. The sand is mostly produced for the glass industry.


High-grade silicon is manufactured at Kemerton Industrial Park using a high temperature smelting process. Silicon is used in the production of aluminium alloys, silicones and solar grade silicon wafers.

Go to our Projects section for more information on resources projects.

Go to our Statistics section for more information on mining and commodity values.


The South West is a significant contributor to the manufacturing sector in regional Western Australia.

Strong population growth together with significant mining, timber and agriculture in the region have fueled the expansion of manufacturing industries.

Timber product and food and beverage enterprises are among the dominate industries in terms of the number of manufacturers.

The manufacturing sector continues to expand and grow, particularly with value-added industries.

Local manufacturers service the region, but also provide high-tech services for international markets.

Building and construction

The South West has some of the highest construction values in regional Western Australia.

The  Dalyellup residential housing development, just south of Bunbury, will continue the strong growth of the Greater Bunbury area.

Vasse Newtown and Provence, both near Busselton, are becoming established as  sustainable community developments meeting housing demand in the Margaret River and Busselton regions.

Other establishing subdivisions include Treendale, near Australind, and Millbridge, near Eaton.

Go to our Projects section for more information on urban developments in the region.

Go to our Statistics section for more information on building and property values.


The South West has a coastline with some of the best surfing beaches in the State, towering forests and established wine regions.

The region's mild climate and diverse natural attractions draw more domestic and international visitors than any other part of regional Western Australia.

With an international reputation as a producer of premium wines, unique opportunities for growth in wine tourism are emerging.

It is expected tourism will continue to develop as a major contributor to the region's economy as visitors are increasingly attracted to the unique South West lifestyle.

Nature based or eco-tourism is emerging as an area with significant potential for growth.

The South West's proximity to Perth, and availability of high quality accommodation and conference facilities makes it an ideal choice for conferences, meetings and seminars.

Visitors to the region are as diverse as people themselves. From budget-minded backpackers, to jet-setters looking for that unique indulgence, the South West has it all.

Agribusiness and food

Fertile soils, high rainfall and proximity to Perth are leading factors in the South West region's diverse range of agricultural pursuits.

The region has over thousands of agricultural enterprises, covering an area of approximately 864,000 hectares.

Agricultural ventures include:

Beef and dairy cattle

The South West region is Western Australia's leading supplier of beef cattle. Processing of prime beef for export occurs at a large abattoir near Harvey.

Sheep and wool

The South West produces fine apparel wool, with the majority of the region's sheep stock and disposals occurring in the Shire of Boyup Brook.

The region exports quality merino wool to Europe and Asia, in particular to China.


Most vegetables are sold to the Perth market, but increasingly a share is exported to South East Asia. Varieties include; potatoes, carrots, broccoli, onions, cauliflowers, tomatoes, pumpkin, beans, lettuce, capsicum, chillies, zucchini and cabbage.


Orchard fruits and grapes (used for winemaking) dominate production in the region. Varieties include; table and wine grapes, apples, oranges, plums, prunes, pears, avocados, nashi pears, nectarines, peaches, cherries, apricots, kiwifruit and berries.


The South West is the largest wine producing region in Western Australia and widely recognised as a world-class producer of premium wine. Wine regions include; Margaret River, Pemberton, Blackwood Valley, Geographe and Manjimup, with grape production predominentely found in these areas.


Latest figures show the South West accounted for around 88 per cent of the total value of West Australian milk production. Milk from the region is primarily processed as fluid milk for the domestic market. A small manufacturing industry processes surplus milk into butter, cheese, dried milk powder, cream, long life milk, yoghurts, desserts and other products for domestic and export markets.


Floriculture is an established export industry in the South West. There are significant plantings of proteas in the shires of Harvey, Busselton, and Augusta-Margaret River. Wildflowers are found in the Warren-Blackwood area, and tulips are grown in and around Nannup and Balingup.

Other crops

Pastures, cultivated turf, grasses (for hay production), grains; including barley, oats and wheat, are the main contributors.

Exotic meats

Deer, emu, ostrich and goats are bred in the South West.

Go to our statistics section for more information on the value of agriculture and viticulture.

Wine and viticulture

Viticulture production is a significant economic contributor to the South West region, with 29,881 tonnes of grapes crushed in 2018.

The Margaret River wine region is well-known for its premium varieties, producing 80 per cent of the region's wine. Wine is also produced in the Geographe (8 per cent), Pemberton (8 per cent) and Blackwood Valley (2 per cent) areas.

The region's vineyards produce both red and white variety of wines.

Wine tourism is popular in the South West, with many people taking up the opportunity to enjoy a glass of Semillon or Shiraz in the picturesque region that produced it.

West Australian wine regions


Approximately half of Western Australia's forests are located in the South West.

Hardwood timber

The harvesting of native jarrah and karri hardwoods was one of the first major industries in the South West. In days-gone-by a network of railway lines linked the region's many small timber mills to the Busselton Jetty, where our native timber was loaded onto tall ships headed for the far corners of the globe.

The introduction of the Regional Forest Agreement has resulted in plantation timber taking over from the logging of native hardwoods as the major source of timber production.

The future of hardwood timber processing is now focused on value adding. Hardwood products are sent to the eastern states of Australia and exported to Japan, New Zealand, USA, Europe and Malaysia.

Further opportunities may exist in fibreboard industries, farm forestry, planting of specialist timbers, processing of waste wood for energy production, and fine wood furniture and crafts.


Woodchips were first exported from the region in the 1970s to supply paper pulp manufacturers.

Large scale bluegum plantations are now supplying woodchips to markets in Japan, with over 1.5 million tonnes exported through the Bunbury Port each year.


One of the largest integrated softwood milling and processing plants in Australia is located in Dardanup. The complex produces sawn pine timber and a range of reconstituted wood-based panels, including melamine faced panels, structural flooring and wet and dry flooring.

Particle board produced at the mill is used in Western Australia's construction and furniture making industries with the remainder going to the eastern states of Australia and Asian markets.

Go to our statistics section for more information on the value of log production.

Note: Particle board production is deemed manufacturing and therefore not represented in timber industry statistics.

Fishing and aquaculture

Fishing is smaller that other industries in the South West, but still an important contributor both commercially and as a recreational pursuit.

Commercial fishing

Commercial fleets operate out of Augusta, Bunbury, Busselton, Dunsborough, Walpole and Windy Harbour.

Species caught off the South West coast include shark, mullet, whiting, herring, dhufish and snapper and lobster.


Freshwater species, including marron, yabbies, silver perch and trout are farmed inland.

Marron is mostly farmed in purpose-built, semi-intensive pond systems in the lower South West.

Research facilities

The Department of Fisheries plays a significant role in developing the aquaculture industry, conducting research into refining and maximising production techniques for freshwater species.

The Department's Pemberton Freshwater Research Centre provides support to the industry through research facilities on fish nutrition, marron production and freshwater native fish.

Recreational fishing

Fishing enthusiasts fish and dive in the coastal waters and the many streams, rivers and estuaries for salmon, herring, dhufish, whiting, bream, marron, trout, crab, and rock lobster.

Recreational fishing and diving are important contributors to the local economy, attracting visitors to the region and generating economic activity through the sale and hire of vehicles, boats, gear, fuel, tackle and bait.

Retail and commerce

The City of Bunbury is the commercial and administrative hub of the South West of Western Australia.

Strong population growth in the urban areas of Bunbury, Busselton, Australind, Eaton and Dalyellup is fueling a healthy retail sector.

Village-style town centres underway in developments such as Treendale in Australind provide further opportunities for retail development.

Opportunities abound for small to medium businesses supplying goods and services to the mining, agricultural, forestry, fishing and tourism industries.

Access to major road, rail and port facilities makes Bunbury the main distribution centre for the region, servicing the needs of industry and the community.

Banking, investment and financial services, wholesale trade, industrial and building supplies, real estate, accommodation, hospitality, recreational and cultural activities all contribute to the region's commerce sector.

Go to our statistics section for more information on trade and gross regional product.

Creative industries

The South West region is home to a small but growing group of creative professionals whose work is making a big impression on the global market.

Visual artists, musicians and filmmakers are just some of the creative people finding success on the world stage from their base in the South West.

New and improved infrastructure is making it easier for smart and creative professionals to work from the region.

The establishment of a world-class data centre at the Bunbury library, for instance, recently led to an international digital animation studio moving its operations to the city.

Find out more about how we're working to support the growth of the creative sector in the South West.

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