Why invest in the South West

The South West has a growing population of 178,000 and a thriving and complex economy supporting over 71,000 jobs. It has abundant mineral deposits, fertile soils for agriculture, and strong manufacturing, retail and tourism industries.

Although much of the region's prosperity is based on its mining industry valued at about $2.7 billion per annum - in particular alumina and mineral sands - a diverse range of industries provide employment opportunities for people living in the region and substantial export income.

The South West region has sustained growth in its Gross Regional Product (in real terms) of 27.2% over the past decade and is benefitting from ongoing major State and Commonwealth Government investment into our roads, rail and port including the $852 million Bunbury Outer Ring Road, estimated to create hundreds of local jobs during construction.

The State Government is also investing $28.8 million into the South West and regional Western Australia through its Regional Economic Development (REDs) grants aimed at driving industry growth, diversification and the creation of jobs in regional priority areas.
Click on the links below for more information on the region's economy:


Businesses choosing to locate to the South West enjoy the region's strong economic growth, a skilled labour force, abundance of industrial land and close proximity to the expanding economies of South East Asia.

Diversity of jobs, the availability of strong business capabilities, and good community and business infrastructure are other factors that make the South West a great place to invest.

The South West's attractive climate and lifestyle are also incentives to those considering a base in the region.

The South West is world-renowned as a quality tourist destination for both domestic and international visitors − and many people like the idea of making their stay in the region a permanent one. With world-class facilities and modern technology, doing business with the rest of the world from the South West is effortless.

Comparative advantages

The South West region of Western Australia has a diverse economy, established infrastructure and an enviable lifestyle. This makes it an ideal place to live and do business.

There are many reasons why people choose to do business here. The region's comparative advantages include:

  • Favourable location − close proximity to Perth and the highly efficient port of Bunbury
  • Well-established supporting infrastructure, including water, power, gas, telecommunications, road, rail and port facilities
  • Rapidly growing population
  • Highly skilled workforce
  • An abundance of natural resources, including significant coal and gas reserves
  • Suitable light and heavy industrial parks
  • High quality regional capability to service industry
  • Excellent living standards and lifestyle opportunities
  • Low cost housing, land and labour costs

About our sub-regions

The South West has three distinct regional economies.

The Bunbury-Geographe region is a mix of mineral processing, energy production, mining and agriculture. It includes the region's capital city of Bunbury which hosts a range of service, construction, engineering and manufacturing industries together with the Bunbury Port. Tourism is a growing aspect of the region varying from wine in the Ferguson Valley and Harvey areas to motorsports at Collie.

The Capes region includes the shires of Augusta-Margaret River and Busselton. It has traditionally been a centre for agriculture including dairy and beef production. It has become a premium wine growing area and is a significant centre for high value, technology-based industries including a variety of creative industries. Vasse offers a very attractive lifestyle for those whose business interests can be delivered through telecommunications. The area is a high value tourism location.

The Southern Forests region includes the shires of Boyup Brook, Bridgetown Greenbushes, Manjimup and Nannup. Traditional industries have included agriculture, timber and tourism with mining at Greenbushes. Together these industries support the small business sector with Manjimup as the regional centre. There is growth potential in food and timber processing.

Find out more about our region.

Major economic drivers

Bunbury Geographe regionSouthern Forests regionCapes region
Infrastructure projectsTimberViticulture
AgricultureViticultureCreative industries
Commercial & professional servicesProfessional servicesProfessional services

Dynamic workforce

A diverse economy requires a dynamic workforce to thrive.

The South West is fortunate to be able to draw on a highly skilled workforce to meet the demands of business and industry.

Education and training

The South West has a comprehensive range of higher education and training facilities, providing many opportunities for upskilling and tertiary qualifications at a local level.

Bunbury's Edith Cowan University and the South West Institute of Technology are the largest providers of tertiary education in the region. Find out more about education and training opportunities.

Skilled migration

Where there is difficulty in recruiting suitably qualified people to fill positions, skilled migration schemes are available that allow employers to hire labour from overseas.

The Department of Training and Workforce Development is the regional certifying body for the South West under the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme.

All employer applications must be submitted to Skilled Migration WA for assessment.

Skilled Migration WA is a branch within the Western Australian Department of Training and Workforce Development.

For further information on the application process please go to the Department of Training and Workforce Development website or contact:

Skilled Migration WA
T: +61 9224 6593
T: 13 23 98 (from within Australia)
E: migration@dtwd.wa.gov.au

Further information

All queries relating to the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme should be directed to the Department of Training and Workforce Development in Perth.

If you require assistance with a 457 or RSMS Visa sponsorship matter you can also contact the following Department of Immigration and Citizenship regional outreach officers:

Ed Jones T: 0459 840 628
Steve Lanyi T: 0403 449 168
E: roo.wa@immi.gov.au

Transport infrastructure

Transport infrastructure is the backbone of the South West's strong economic growth.

Extensive road, rail and port facilities have accommodated the demands of industry and seen the South West become the State's regional economic powerhouse.

But the time has come for upgrades to the current transport infrastructure network.

The South West Development Commission, Bunbury Wellington Economic Alliance, Bunbury Port Authority and The Chamber of Minerals & Energy WA have developed a plan for the region's future transport infrastructure needs.

Roads to Export: Infrastructure Investment Plan presents a case for investment in local port-linked transport infrastructure to cope with future industry and population growth.


The region is linked by modern bitumen-sealed roads and highways with transit time from Western Australian capital Perth to the South West centre of Bunbury only about two hours by road.

Major roads include the Forrest Highway, South Western Highway, Coalfields Highway and Bussell Highway.

The Forrest Highway, which opened in September 2009, has reduced road travel time between Perth and the City of Bunbury by about 30 minutes, bringing with it immeasurable long-term economic benefits.

The $36.1m first stage of the Bunbury Port Access Road, Willinge Drive between the port and Picton, was opened to traffic early in 2010.

The second stage of the project, which was completed in 2013, saw Willinge Drive extended from Picton to the Bunbury Outer Ring Road and the Bunbury Outer Ring Road constructed between South Western Highway and the Boyanup-Picton Road.

The Bunbury Port Access Road project forms part of a planned expansion of the road network, which includes the Bunbury Outer Ring Road, to cater for future growth of traffic on the road network and facilitate development of the Bunbury Port and South West industry.


The rail network is a significant transport system within the South West.

Bunbury is the centre of the network, which connects to towns and industry areas in the region, and the Perth metropolitan area.

The Australind passenger service operates a regular, seven-day per week service between Bunbury and Perth.

This service provides a valuable social role as well as providing support to the tourist industry.

Railway lines carry bulk commodities such as coal and alumina from the South West region to the Bunbury Port.


Located within the protected waters of Koombana Bay, the Bunbury Port is strategically situated close to the South West's mining, manufacturing, agricultural and pastoral areas.

It is well-equipped and capable of distributing a variety of products from the region world-wide.

The port currently consists of seven berths and an inner and outer harbour, with depths up to 9.1 metres at the Outer Harbour and 12.2 metres at the Inner Harbour.

The Inner Harbour is serviced by a narrow gauge rail line and has road transport access, whereas the Outer Harbour is serviced by road transport only.


The South West region is serviced by a regional airport located 6.5km from the town centre of Busselton. It is 220 kilometres south, south west from the Perth International Airport and used for a variety of purposes including transporting fly-in, fly-out workers to operations located in other areas of the State.

As well as the Busselton Margaret River Airport, which is owned and operated by the Shire of Busselton, light aircraft can use an airport at Bunbury and sealed airstrips around the region including at Collie, Manjimup and Margaret River.

International Port

Bunbury boasts one of the biggest regional ports in Australia, with trade through the Bunbury port reaching 16.7 million tonnes in 2018/19.

Major commodities exported through the port continue to be alumina and woodchips, while the largest imports are caustic soda and mineral sands.

The port is used by a diversity of industries, and can count eleven types of exports and seven types of imports.

Bunbury port

Located within the protected waters of Koombana Bay, the Bunbury port is well-equipped and capable of distributing a variety of products from the region world-wide.

It currently consists of seven berths, five located at the Inner Harbour and two at the Outer Harbour, with depths up to 12.2 metres and 8.5 metres respectively.

The Inner Harbour is serviced by a narrow gauge rail line and has road transport access linking to major transport routes, where as the Outer Harbour is serviced by road transport only.

The Inner Harbour Structure Plan (September 2009) provides guidelines for the future staged expansions of the Inner Harbour.

On October 1 2014, the Bunbury Port Authority amalgamated with Albany and Esperance port authorities to form the Southern Ports Authority. For details, visit www.southernports.com.au .

Energy Hub

Powering business

When you flick on a light or turn on the TV from somewhere in the South West region, chances are you are using electricity produced by coal from the mining town of Collie.

All of the State's power supply is generated from Collie coal.

Coal is mined in the Collie basin and transformed into electricity, which is fed into the State's power grid.

The South West Interconnected System (SWIS), an electricity network consisting of about 88,000 kilometres of powerlines, is the biggest interconnected network in Western Australia. It extends from Kalbarri in the north, east to Kalgoorlie, and south to Albany.

Local coal-fired power stations include the Bluewaters Power Station, Collie Power Station and Muja Power Station.

The Kemerton Power Station, which comprises two open cycle gas turbine, operates as a peaking plant.

The Dampier to Bunbury Natural Gas Pipeline (DBNGP) transports gas from the North West Shelf to customers in the South West.

Useful links

Western Power

Water Resources

The Department of Water is responsible for the management of water and issues water allocation licences to the South West region's three public water utilities, Water CorporationAqwest and the Busselton Water Board.

Licences are also issued to private water users such as large horticultural enterprises requiring groundwater from confined aquifers. Irrigation is a major water user in the South West.

Water comes from a variety of sources including aquifers and dams.

With the exception of Bunbury and Busselton, drinking water schemes in the State's South West are operated by the Water Corporation.

A number of South West communities receive their drinking water primarily from surface water sources including Pemberton, Manjimup, Bridgetown, Boyup Brook, Kirup, Balingup and Margaret River.

On the coastal plain, most towns are supplied with groundwater from the Yarragadee or Leederville Aquifers. These include Bunbury, Eaton, Australind, Capel, Busselton and Dunsborough.

The Harris Dam, 12 kilometres north of Collie, supplies water to Collie and 31 towns connected to the Great Southern Towns Water Supply Scheme. The Water Corporation can also transfer water from Harris Dam to the State's Integrated Water Supply Scheme via the Stirling Dam if required.

The Water Corporation supplies bulk water to Harvey Water (formerly South West Irrigation Cooperative) from dams in the Darling Scarp, Waroona, Samson, Logue Brook, Stirling, Harvey and Wellington. The Glen Mervyn Dam near Donnybrook supplies the Preston Valley Irrigation Cooperative.

Stirling Dam near Harvey, forms part of an integrated water supply system servicing the South West, Perth Metropolitan and Goldfields-Esperance regions. Officially opened in November 2002, it supplies up to 10 per cent of the Integrated Scheme's water requirements.


Creating the right environment is important for attracting innovative industries.

That is why the South West Development Commission is continually working to improve communications infrastructure and information technology in the region.

For example, it is working with Regional Development Australia - South West to get the region NBN-ready. As part of this work, the two agencies have joined forces to ensure a digital economy strategy is created for the South West.

The region is fortunate to already have in place many of the services and facilities necessary for companies to conduct international business from the region − and as a result, an increasing number of innovative companies are moving to the South West region.

Access for everyone

Community Resource Centres (formerly known as Telecentres) operate throughout the region for people living and working in rural towns and communities.

Community-owned and operated, the centres provide access to high-speed internet, two-way video conferencing, education and training, as well as government information and referral services.

Leading technology

A digital animation studio that creates computer generated effects for international films and television series from its base in Bunbury is just one example of a South West company successfully working on a global scale. The company was able to establish operations in Bunbury because of the presence of a world-class data centre, which had partially been funded by the Commission.

The provision of cutting edge communications infrastructure and information technology means people can carry out business with counterparts in places such as Beijing or London and Hollywood from the comfort of the enviable South West region.


ADSL Broadband internet is available in the larger urban areas and most townships throughout the South West. Outside these areas, broadband connections subsidised by the Commonwealth government are available.

Most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) offer connections at similar prices to Perth. Broadband is delivered by either copper (ADSL), 3G mobile networks (wireless broadband) or satellite.

Selected urban areas and towns also have access to ADSL 2+ offering speeds up to 20Mbps. Bunbury CBD has ADSL2+ offered by multiple carriers.

Cable-based broadband services are available in some new housing estates.

Securing early rollout of the National Broadband Network in the region is high on the South West Development Commission's agenda.

Find out more about the national broadband initiative.


The South West Development Commission, along with the Bunbury Chamber of Commerce and Industries and City of Bunbury, teamed up to ensure the main business strip in Bunbury became a "WiFi hotspot".

As a result of these efforts, free wireless internet access is now available at certain locations in  the CBD.


Mobile phone coverage is available through a number of carriers including Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. Coverage is comprehensive in urban and most rural areas although gaps still occur in less populated parts of the region including national parks and some major roads such as the South Western Highway north of Walpole.

Nearly all of the region's population has access to land-based telephone services.

Television and radio

South West residents receive television from a range of networks including the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC TV), SBS (Special Broadcasting Service) Golden West Network (GWN), and WIN Television.

Networks are now broadcasting free to view digital transmission in some areas of the South West, providing improved picture and sound quality, and widescreen images. Digital channels include SBS and ABC TV.

Satellite Pay-TV services are available.

ABC Radio and a number of AM and FM frequency commercial and community radio services are also available throughout most of the region.

Industry land for the future

The South West region of Western Australia offers a range of industrial land suitable for both heavy and light industry.

The Preston Industrial Park contains about 3,000 hectares that will become available for light and specialised industry.

Industrial estates at Kemerton, north of Bunbury, and Shotts, near Collie, provide 2,100 and 235 hectares of land respectively for heavy industry.

The South West Development Commission is an excellent first point of contact for any company considering doing business in the region and can assist in locating suitable land.

Kemerton Strategic Industrial Area

Your site for strategic and heavy industry in the South West region.

The Kemerton Strategic industrial Area is located 17 kilometres from the port city of Bunbury in the South West region of Western Australia.

It is an important strategic industrial estate for the region, with links to the Bunbury port, and is well serviced by existing power, water, gas and road infrastructure.

Operations based at Kemerton range from silicon production to silica sand production and a peaking power plant. A lithium processing plant is the latest venture to establish in the industrial area, with works underway.

Visit the Landcorp website for more information on the Kemerton Industrial Park.

For Sale: Lot 123 Forrest Highway
For Sale: Lot 21 Runnymede Road

Shotts Industrial Park

The proposed Shotts Industrial Park, in the coal-rich Collie area, will be key to accommodating future industries.

Since the Shotts Industrial Park business case was endorsed by State Cabinet in early 2009, a number of companies have shown interest in setting up operations at the 235ha park, including a urea plant.

Located in close proximity to the Collie coalfields, the site is serviced by power, rail and roads and located in close proximity to the Collie coalfields.

The South West Development Commission is part of the steering committee for the industrial park and will continue to work towards advancing the proposal.

Preston Enterprise Park (northern precint)

The South West Development Commission is developing the Preston Enterprise Park (Northern Precint) to accommodate future South West business and industry.
Picton Enterprise Park is located on the South Western Highway, approximately 10 kilometres from the Bunbury CBD.

The Enterprise Park is home to a range of industries operating in the sectors of manufacturing and fabrication, fuel storage and distribution, and waste recycling.
The South West Development Commission has undertaken feasibility work for the next stage of the Picton Enterprise Park.

Links with China

Businesses wanting to establish or expand markets in China can seek assistance from the Bunbury-Jiaxing Business Office and the local TradeStart office.

Bunbury-Jiaxing Business Relations Office

Help is at hand for local people wanting to trade with China - and for citizens of Jiaxing intending to conduct business in the South West region of Australia.

Specially created offices in Bunbury and Jiaxing provide good starting points for people looking to trade between the sister cities and their regions.

Staff in the offices can assist prospective importers and exporters with communications and advice, while helping to facilitate trade opportunities.

The Bunbury-Jiaxing Business Office is located on the Podium level, Bunbury Tower, 61 Victoria Street, Bunbury, WA.

For more information about trading with China, contact the Bunbury-Jiaxing Business Office by phoning Yan Lyu on +61 08 9721 1111,  or emailing info@bunbury-jiaxing.com.au . For more information, visit www.bunbury-jiaxing.com.au .

Matching local businesses with market opportunities

The TradeStart office at the South West Development Commission matches local businesses with market opportunities throughout the world, including China.

Find out more about TradeStart Program.

Trade and investment

Whether it is waves and wine in Margaret River or timber and truffles in Manjimup, the South West region has much to offer the world.

To make the most of these trade and investment opportunities, the South West Development Commission has a dedicated TradeStart officer and plays a key role in the Bunbury-Jiaxing Business Office.

TradeStart program

Through its TradeStart program, the South West Development Commission offers help to small and medium-sized enterprises wishing to expand or to commence exporting.

As well as providing advice and linking businesses with global market opportunities, the Commission promotes businesses and products at regular international events, and organises and hosts delegations of visiting investors.

To contact the TradeStart office at the South West Development Commission phone Simon Taylor on 0427 086 857 or email tradestart@swdc.wa.gov.au .

About the South West

Fast-growing population

  • Over the past five years the South West's average annual growth rate was 1.0 per cent.

Regional economic powerhouse

  • The South West has the largest economy in regional Western Australia.
  • Gross regional product was $13.5 billion during 2017-18.
  • The region derives most of its wealth from healthy mining, construction and manufacturing sectors.


  • Situated in the picturesque south-west corner of Australia.
  • The region has a good transport networks, including the dual carriageway from Perth to Bunbury, passenger rail and coach services.
  • The port city of Bunbury, about 1.5 hours drive from Perth, is the South West's commercial hub.
  • Smaller townships can be founds throughout the region's 12 local government areas.

Investment opportunities

There is international demand for investment opportunities within the South West region.

Agriculture, clean energy, wine, tourism (including hotel and resort accommodation) and education are all areas in the South West that feature investment opportunities.

Other industries in the South West open to support from overseas investors are creative, entertainment and service sectors, IT and innovative technology, resources and minerals, and health and wellbeing.


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