Economic Development


Our vision is for the Western Downs to be a strong, resilient and diverse economy with strengthened liveability by 2028.  

Council is committed to ensuring that our children and future generations can live, work, study and play, and have the opportunity to do what they love whilst enjoying a regional lifestyle. 

Council’s five-year Economic Development Strategy (2023 to 2028) addresses critical issues and clearly articulates a strategic pathway for the Western Downs to diversify and grow its economy, building on the region’s competitive advantage and further attracting business and investment in value-adding opportunities and emerging markets. All whilst improving our region's liveability to ensure that residents can enjoy quality services, and a regional lifestyle. 


Economic Development Strategy Graphic(PDF, 8MB) The Economic Development Strategy focuses on five key pillars: Jobs and SkillsLiveability and InfrastructurePopulationProductivity and Innovation; and Sustainability and Resilience. Zoning in on these five pillars will ensure the Western Downs is a diverse region at the forefront of the changing world - you can find out more about these key pillars at the links below.

This strategic vision aligns with Western Downs Regional Council’s Corporate Plan 2021-2026

How can Council assist your business?

Council's Economic Development team offers assistance and support to our region's businesses with the following:

  • Facilitate and promote business and industry events throughout the year to enhance growth in our key industries; 
  • Support business development opportunities through collaboration with key strategic partners;  
  • Refer businesses to government agencies and economic development organisations providing business support and grants and funding opportunities; 
  • Provide information on developments and investment within the Western Downs region;  
  • Provide economic impact modelling and statistics to support grant and funding applications. 

Contact Us and one of our team will be in touch to discuss the opportunities and benefits of doing business and developing industry in the Western Downs. For a full economic overview, we'd encourage you to review our Economy ID: The Western Downs Economic Profile



Pillar 1: Jobs & Skills 

The Western Downs workforce is growing, optimised, and fit for the future. Outdoor staff at work

Council's Economic Development team enables youth employment opportunities and supports local business’ recruitment beyond traditional workforce.

Further to this, Council works collaboratively with key stakeholders to identify opportunities to increase tertiary education and local training in the Western Downs. 

Subscribe to the Economic Development newsletter to stay up to date on initiatives that are organised throughout the year to enable and support jobs and skills in the region.  

Keep up to date!

Subscribe to Council's Business in the Western Downs eNewsletter 

Council's FREE Youth Business Program

Our free ten-part Western Downs Youth Business Program (Launch+ series) steps you through some of the key things you need to know to launch a business as a young person – including building your own Business Models Canvas, branding, marketing, competitor analysis, nailing your value proposition, funding, pitching and more.

This brand new program is delivered in partnership between Western Downs Regional Council and Future Anything.

Welcome to Western Downs Youth Business Program

Introduction delivered in partnership with Future Anything.

Episode One

In this first episode, we run through everything you need to know to make the most of the next nine episodes.

Total length of time required to deliver this episode: 25 minutes

Episode Two

In this second episode, we run through:

Total length of time required to deliver this episode: 25 minutes

Episode Three

In this third episode, we unpack the competitor analysis and unique value proposition. 

Total length of time required to deliver this episode: 60-90 minutes


Episode Four

In this fourth episode, we unpack customer personas and customer channels.

Total length of time required to deliver this episode: 50 minutes


Episode Five

In this fifth episode, we unpack branding and marketing.

Total length of time required to deliver this episode: 60 minutes


Episode Six

In this sixth episode, we crunch your numbers to make sure you have a financially viable business model.

Total length of time required to deliver this episode: 60 – 90 minutes


Episode Seven

In this seventh episode, we work with epic Accountant, Nicola, to unpack a whole bunch of really important things that you need to know to make sure you’re set up for success- including business structures, record keeping, IP, and Tax.

Total length of time required to deliver this episode: 30-60 minutes.


Business Structure

Find more information about different business structures here. Each structure has different tax implications so it is best to discuss your situation with an accountant.

Record Keeping & Bookkeeping:

Please find some online bookkeeping services below (note they are listed in order of pricing and sophistication (low to high): Wave | QuickBooks | MYOB | Xero

Organisation tools:

Here are five tools to help with you with day-to-day business management:

  • Apps such as Trello/Asana can be used to help keep your workflow on track throughout the day
  • Back up your work in the cloud so that you can access your files at any time
  • Slack or Google Hangouts are great internal messaging and notice tools
  • Software such as OneNote is a great place to document your business processes (can access online and is more dynamic than MS Word)
  • An online calendar whether it be through your emails or another provider will help you stay on track and help others in your business to collaborate with you more effectively.


Find some more information about different registrations at: |
An accountant will be able to advise you on the relevant registrations for your business and help you apply for them. 

Licences & Permits:

Register Licenses & Permits | Business Licenses & Permits | Australian Business Licensing and Information Service
Undertake this short questionnaire which will help you to determine which licences (if any) are relevant to your business.


Find some more information about different business insurances. We recommend you talk to an expert in this area. 

Intellectual Property:

Intellectual Property | Intellectual Property Explained
A lawyer can help you to protect your intellectual property.

Episode Eight

In this eighth episode, we unpack how to pitch your idea.

Total length of time required to deliver this episode: 30 – 45 minutes.


Episode Nine

In this ninth episode, we unpack how to get some funding to launch your idea, including crowdfunding, grants and sponsorships.

Total length of time required to deliver this episode: 20- 30 minutes

Episode Ten

In this final episode, we run through a summary of everything covered and also unpack a few key pieces of advice to set you up for success.

Total length of time required to deliver this episode: 10-15 minutes.

In collaboration with Future Anything.

Pillar 2: Liveability and Infrastructure

Person water skiing in Chinchilla The Western Downs is equipped with modern infrastructure and quality essential services across the region to enable liveability and wellbeing, whilst sustaining population growth.   

On 19 May 2021, Council adopted the new Corporate Plan 2021 to 2026 which provides clear and concise strategic direction that will guide operational activities over the next five years.

The plan sets out Council’s strategic priorities and outlines the success we are aspiring to achieve under each of these priority areas - a strong diverse economy, active vibrant communities, quality lifestyle and a sustainable organisation.

Importantly, the plan also outlines key strategic issues that Council will advocate for on behalf of the community.

Advocacy is the intentional undertaking of activities with the goal to influence policy making. In the context of Local Government, advocacy is undertaken to benefit residents and the wider community. Council’s advocacy efforts aim to raise local issues that are beyond the role and responsibility of Local Government, to obtain support from State Government and Federal Government or other stakeholders and enable positive change.  

Council advocates for: 

  • a long term domestic and industrial water supply for our region
  • health and social services providing our residents with 'Whole of Life' care
  • a safe and well maintained state and federal road network
  • telecommunications services and digital connectivity to support and advance our region

 Click here to view Council's Corporate Plan

Pillar 3: Population 

The Western Downs demonstrates population growth to meet workforce demands. 

Whether it’s for the work opportunities or the lifestyle, this region had one of the highest growth rates in Queensland (RAI data, 2022) – and it’s not hard to see why. With a welcoming atmospherecountry charm (mingled with modern ventures!), affordable cost of living, and a wide range of facilities, the Western Downs really does offer the complete package to residents.

Western Downs Regional Council is a member of the Regional Activators Alliance and Move to More Campaign, actively promoting the Western Downs region, employment opportunities and lifestyle beyond its borders. 

Please visit Western Downs Queensland to find out more about why the Western Downs is a great place to live, work, play and study.

View the LIVE Western Downs Magazine here

Read more about our towns in our regional Welcome Guides here

Pillar 4: Productivity and Innovation

Dalby Saleyards Ariel View The Western Downs is a recognised leader in agribusiness, energy and manufacturing and local productivity continues to increase. 

Business is booming in the Western Downs and it’s not just us who think so, we’ve been crowned one of Australia's fastest growing regional economies over the past five years. The stats speak for themselves with a growing Gross Regional Product (GRP) thanks to the energy, construction, agriculture and manufacturing industries flourishing within our borders.

The Western Downs is trademarked the “Energy Capital of Queensland”, and has the industry to prove it with coal mining, coal seam gas, wind and solar renewable energy facilities. Further expansion of coal seam gas and renewable energy projects throughout the region form part of the next wave of energy development, and promises to keep the uplift in regional development alive in the Western Downs.

Retail developments outside the energy space further evidence on-going investment in the Western Downs with retail heavy-weights, Bunnings Warehouse and Aldi Supermarket, taking leaseholds in Dalby.

Industry Investment in Western Downs

Investment opportunities are endless across many industries in the Western Downs.

Read more about our industries and investment opportunities


Strategic Partners

Western Downs Regional Council partners with Chambers of Commerce across the region, as well as Toowoomba Surat Basin Enterprise, to deliver valuable business support. Please visit their websites to gain an overview of the value they can provide to your business.  

CCCI.jpg   Dalby-Chamber.jpg   Jandowae-Business-Group.jpg   WCCI.jpg

Miles-Chamber.jpg   TSBE.jpg   Regional-Development-Aus.jpg   Tara-Futures-Group.jpg


Pillar 5: Sustainability and Resilience

Ariel View of solar panels The Western Downs is future proofed for a changing climate and transitioning economies, and circular economy principles are demonstrated. 

The Western Downs is proudly trademarked the Energy Capital of Queensland.  

What’s fueling the energy sector’s growth is the combination of the Western Downs’ geography and environmental conditions, along with existing transmission infrastructure. This has meant there are opportunities for energy providers to interstate connectors and transmission lines. 

Being home to significant renewables developments, the Western Downs plays a vital role in the delivery of the Queensland Climate Action of 70% renewable energy by 2032 and zero net emissions by 2050.  

Western Downs Regional Council is committed to further lead the way, and to do so, will undertake a carbon emissions study of both Council as an organisation and the region as a whole. This study will guide and inform opportunities to reduce carbon emissions.  

Get Involved and Stay Updated

Council is excited to invite businesses, organisations and community groups across the Western Downs to pledge their support and join this region-wide movement.

This strategy is the start of a region-wide movement and commitment to work collaboratively - facilitating partnerships and relationships with community stakeholders, industry, education providers, levels of government and neighbouring regions.  

We invite you to show your support, submit your 'promise' and join this movement. We will be sharing a list of supportive organisations here so please upload your logo for us to display.  

Stay up to date

Subscribe to Council's Business in the Western Downs eNewsletter here

Complete the form to pledge your support