Economy and Industry


The Northern Agricultural Region (NAR) has a rich history of agriculture and fishing, however mining has also recently become a dominant industry.


Agriculture in the NAR contributed ~$4 billion to the Western Australian Economy in 2011/12 (Hagan 2013) – mostly from broadacre grain cropping.

Livestock industries contributed ~$330M, comprising of:

  • wool ~$97M,
  • beef  ~$41M,
  • sheep ~$86M
  • poultry ~$30M.

(Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2011)


The fishing industry of the NAR supports the major part of the West Coast Rock Lobster Fishery. The region’s total live weight catch of all species in 2010/2011 was valued at over $190 million a slight decrease from $200 million in 2001/2002, with the rock lobster catch representing 95% of the total value (Fletcher and Santoro 2012)


The mining industry has rapidly expanded over recent years, contributing approximately $1.5 billion in 2012/13.  The main commodities extracted include mineral sands, iron ore, talc and petroleum (DMP Minedex).


Tourism, like mining, is also experiencing rapid expansion in the NAR. The NAR boasts some of the State’s major tourism attractions including the Pinnacles, New Norcia, Kalbarri, Murchison River Gorges, Wildflower Country, the Abrolhos Islands and the Batavia Coast.


Since 2005 there has been a rapid expansion in the aquaculture industry throughout the Mid West, with the industry’s value increasing from $129,000 to $1,250 million (MWDC, 2013). This increase is thought to be primarily due to a response to increasing global demands for seafood and subsequently The Department of Fisheries are in the process of establishing a 3,000 hectare Mid West Aquaculture Development Zone.


Approximately 30,283 NAR residents (almost half) are employed in the work force (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2011). People are employed in agriculture, forestry/fishing and mining, along with services and retail related industries. Service related industries includes, education, information and technology, public and private administration, utilities, health, education, professionals, finance and construction. Retail related industries includes, recreation, hospitality, retail, wholesale, manufacturing and real estate.