Shaping Growth in the Kimberley Region

Recognising the emerging significance of the Kimberley, The Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia (CME) has released a paper which recommends targeted infrastructure investment to promote development.

CME Director Nicole Roocke said the Kimberley region was a vast and diverse landscape with a history of land uses which, coupled with a low population density presented many infrastructure challenges.

“The Kimberley region is currently constrained by inadequate infrastructure and unable to capitalise on the extraordinary opportunities which exist across many industry sectors,” Ms Roocke said.

“To promote development of the region, investment in roads, ports, housing and water supply and wastewater treatment is necessary.

“The CME ‘Shaping Growth in the Kimberley Region’ paper supports the State Governments recent funding commitment to improve certain parts of the Great Northern Highway. While further investment is needed to allow the safe transport of diesel, materials and supplies into the region, emphasis on providing safer roads for residents and visitors to the Kimberley is also important.

“Land release must be timed to coincide with future economic development, not just resource sector development, to ensure affordable regional housing for all Kimberley residents. Another issue that isn’t often recognised is supplies of potable water to these communities which must also be maintained.”

Ms Roocke said CME’s paper was the start of a broader look at the infrastructure needs of the whole Kimberley regional economy, not just from a resources sector perspective.

“CME is keen to use this work and collaborate with other stakeholders like the Kimberley Development Commission to help implement a plan for future investment.”

As well as known prospects, there are about 500 exploration licences across the Kimberley region that have been granted or are in the process of being assessed.

The actual footprint of the resources sector in the Kimberley however is just 0.06 per cent of the entire landmass of the region.

In 2010-11 the Gross Regional Product in the Kimberley was estimated at $3.1 billion with major contributing sectors being construction, mining, agriculture, forestry and fishing.

Today’s release builds on previous work by CME to identify the needs of the Kimberley region through its Position Paper: Policies, planning and partnerships for responsible resources development in the Kimberley which can also be located at www.cmewa.com.