Regional Economic Snapshot

In 2021, the South West Region’s Gross Regional Product exceeded $15.4bn to set a new benchmark, accounting for 4.3% of WA’s Gross State Product (ABS National Accounts). An average annual estimated GRP growth rate of 4.7% was achieved in the years 2012-2022, with negative growth reported in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2020.

The South West has a broad economic base with manufacturing, construction, mining, agriculture, tourism and timber processing key elements. There is a strong business and retail sector with an estimated 16,301 businesses in the South West. The main contributors to economic output in the region are Manufacturing (22.7%), Construction (14.5%) and Mining (13.2%).

Small and medium enterprises are the most significant employers with 3%of all businesses employing more than 20 staff. Most production in the region is small scale and relies on premium markets to generate return on investment. Marketing premium quality is the principle characteristic of South West competitiveness.

Figure 1 – South West Gross Regional Product, nominal terms, 2010-21 | Source:  ABS 2021 Census Place of Work Employment (Scaled), ABS 2019 / 2020 National Input Output Tables, and ABS June 2021 Gross State Product.

3.1 Framework for Analysis

With the regional data and megatrends highlighted, an opportunity exists to look at South West data and overall prospects, and then discuss through the lens of agreed regional development determinants as established by the Council of Australian Governments and accounting for both the Australian Government’s regional priorities and the Western Australian Government’s regional strategic vision as delivered through the South West Development Commission (SWDC).

3.1.1 Determinants of regional development

  • Connectivity and infrastructure: Access to international, national and regional markets (including supply chain infrastructure and digital capacity).
  • Regional employment and business: Comparative advantage and business competitiveness boosted by clustering, R&D and a strategic regional vision.
  • Human capital and skills: Adaptable and educated workforces supported by further and higher education facilities.
  • Sustainable (economically, environmentally and socially) communities and population: supporting liveability, natural resources, opportunities and jobs.
  • Effective cross-sectoral and intergovernmental partnerships and integrated regional planning: collaborative approaches provided by regional leadership, shared goals and including the Aboriginal community.