Economic Development Strategy

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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 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.

Click to view the Economic Development strategy(PDF, 8MB)

Economic Development Strategy GraphicThe 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

Pillar 1: Jobs and Skills

Customer-Contact-Centre.jpg The Western Downs workforce is growing, optimised, and fit for the future. 

Council Economic Development team enables youth employment opportunities, supports local business’ recruitment beyond traditional workforce and increases local training opportunities, enabling ‘study in place’.  

Please ensure to subscribe to the Economic Development newsletter to stay up to date on initiatives which are organised throughout the year to enable and support jobs and skills in the region.  

As further assistance to enable development of young entrepreneurs in our region, Council offers a free ten-part Western Downs Youth Business Program steps 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.

Access the Youth Business Program Here

Pillar 2: Liveability and Infrastructure 

Road.jpg 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 

Pillar 3: Population

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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 atmosphere, country 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.  

Pillar 4: Productivity and Innovation

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The Western Downs is a recognised leader in agribusiness, energy, 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 as 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. 

Pillar 5: Sustainability and Resilience

Ariel View of solar panelsThe 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.