Council is committed to ensuring the liveability and opportunities, securing that future generations will be able to enjoy living, working, studying and playing here for decades to come.
With the aim of placing the Western Downs on the forefront of a changing world by boosting the local economy, embracing innovative opportunities and encouraging proactive and Future-Fit developments.
The area has experienced significant economic growth over the past decade, demonstrated by a strong increase in Gross Regional Product. Western Downs is one of the leading regions in Australia based on percentage annual population growth, despite global shifts of urbanisation. Trademarked as the “Energy Capital of Queensland” and have 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.
Living in the Western Downs is affordable compared to many parts of Queensland with a strong offering of quality public and private secondary education and pathways into innovation focused industry.
Connection to domestic and export markets: Western Downs is strategically located between the east coast and the west with connectivity to national and international export markets such as Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport and the Port of Brisbane. The region allows industrial proximity to Inland Rail and centrally located to the Queensland Renewable Energy Zone (centre of the energy grid). Western downs has available land to expand and land zoned to allow for low medium and high impact industries.
Strong agriculture, intensive agriculture, energy and manufacturing. Our region has long been built on the economic pillars of agriculture and intensive agriculture, but in more recent years the growth of our manufacturing and energy sectors have developed to bolster our strong regional economy.
We pride ourselves on being a business-friendly Council with award-winning planning scheme with access to a suitable and skilled workforce. The Western Downs has available land allowing for low, medium and high impact industries. Utilisation of quality infrastructure and services. Increased educational opportunities and increased and diverse local employment opportunities.
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.
Strong relationships with key partners: Chambers of Commerce, Toowoomba Surat Basin Enterprise (TSBE), Regional Development Australia Darling Downs South West (RDA DDSW), Regional Australia Institute (RAI), and the Queensland Small Business Commissioner.
Agriculture is at the heart of the Western Downs economy and not just because it employs the largest Western Downs workforce.
In fact, agriculture from the Western Downs earns its place as Queensland’s largest producer of beef pork, sorghum, wheat, oats, barley and mung beans.
Agriculture is a founding pillar of our economy and continues to hold its place with a longstanding reputation for being resilient, sustainable and modern.
It’s no coincidence the industry is thriving, given the fact the Western Downs holds some of Queensland’s most productive and resource rich soils to support broad acre farming and livestock production.
In fact, more than 50% of the agricultural land in the region is classified as strategic cropping land.
Beyond crops, the Western Downs’ beef production is the largest economic contributor to the agricultural sector, with almost one-quarter of Queensland’s beef producing properties located in the Western Downs.
The numbers reflect this – each year approximately 200,000 cattle are sold through the Dalby Regional Saleyards, making it the largest same-day prime and store cattle yards in Australia.
Agriculture is accessible with the Western Downs thanks to a road, rail and air network, which enables connectivity to both domestic and international markets, agricultural machinery, supplies and support services.
View the Agriculture Industry Investment Prospectus(PDF, 8MB)
Hear from a local business: Tara Rural Supplies
The Western Downs is proudly trademarked the Energy Capital of Queensland, with coal, gas, solar, wind and hydrogen operations in region.
What’s fuelling 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.
As a result, the region is a prime destination for renewable energy (specifically solar and wind farms), and has seen the development and construction of several solar farms and wind farms, as well as a hydrogen demonstration plant.
Australia’s demand for energy is being met by the Western Downs’ supply and continued growth has prompted another wave of development and expansion of existing projects throughout the region.
Hear from a local business: APA Darling Downs Solar Farm
Where there is energy and agriculture in abundance, there is demand for manufacturing. So it goes without saying an innovative manufacturing industry is alive and well in the Western Downs.
The region’s geographic location, positioned at the centre of a comprehensive transport network, enables great connectivity to markets, supplies and support services
Combine this with export opportunities thanks to Queensland’s only dedicated 747-8F International Freighter Service (ex Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport) and the Toowoomba Bypass , which provides direct access to the Port of Brisbane, and you can see why.
Throw into the decision-mix the fact industrial land is both available and affordable, it makes the decision for manufacturing companies to relocate and establish in our region an easy one.
View the Manufacturing Industry Investment Prospectus(PDF, 9MB)
Hear from a local business: Simplicity Australia
If you’re one for a spending-spree, beware – the shopping is good in the Western Downs. You’ll find shopping centres, cute boutiques tucked away behind tree-lined streets and speciality stores with street frontage.
It’s not just small retailers making the move west – the opening of Café 63, Bunnings Warehouse and Aldi Supermarket in Dalby demonstrate continued retail growth within the community.
These flagship stores not only serve the Western Downs communities but service the western market incorporating Maranoa and Balonne regions, supporting a movement towards seeing the Western Downs as retail destinations for the west.
The retail experience in the Western Downs has a hospitality scene to match, with quaint eateries that turn up the country charm with some of the best cooking this side of the Great Dividing Range.
With a growing population, the Western Downs has potential for further development in the retail sector, with the opportunity for new businesses to take on affordable, prime real estate sites.
View the Retail and Hospitality Industry Investment Prospectus(PDF, 9MB)
Hear from a local business: Bunnings Dalby
Access to health services is an essential component of any thriving community.
Western Downs Regional Council believes in developing a region where residents can age in place, rather than leave their hometowns to access primary health care services.
To support its vision, Western Downs Regional Council partners with aged care and retirement facilities, together with supporting health services and allied services.
There is demand for expansion of health services in the region and opportunities for further investment in both allied and primary health care service. We believe the Western Downs is well positioned to attract quality health service providers.
To ensure this can be realised, the Western Downs Planning Scheme has identified health precincts to allow for the co-location of public and private health infrastructure.
Hear from a local business: Better Movement Clinic
The Western Downs is a gateway to Outback Australia, promising a delightful cocktail of country and city life.
Growing the drive tourism industry makes sense, when the Western Downs is strategically located at the intersection of two major state highways and traversed by three long-haul drive touring routes.
Have you considered the Western Downs as a weekend escape? When travelling from Brisbane, you’ll arrive in our region faster than a trip to Byron Bay.
If travelling from Brisbane, it’s faster for visitors to reach the Western Downs than Byron Bay, providing opportunities to market the Western Downs as a weekend escape from Brisbane.
Natural assets and diverse landscapes are what draw visitors to the Western Downs, with the promise of ancient pines at the Bunya Mountains, state forests, national parks, a major river system, fossils and plenty of open spaces to choose your own adventure.
Visitors are guaranteed an authentic taste of country culture, best explored through one of the diverse events across the region.
The Western Downs Regional Council has identified the following opportunities for the tourism industry focused on short break, events, short and long-haul drives and business events.
For more information, visit www.westerndownsqueensland.com.au.
Accessibility is no barrier to the Western Downs. You’ll find the region 45 minutes west of Toowoomba and less than three hours from the Sunshine State’s capital, Brisbane.
All roads lead to the Western Downs, or at least the Leichhardt, Moonie and Warrego Highways all do, providing a valuable road connection from the region south to NSW, west to Outback Australia and North through Central Queensland.
Getting here by car has now become even easier with the opening of the Toowoomba Bypass. The bypass gives businesses unprecedented access to the Port of Brisbane along with Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport.
You can ride the rails to the Western Downs too, with Queensland Rail’s Westlander service providing connections to both domestic and international markets from the region.
With such vibrant and strong agriculture and energy industries within the Western Downs, there’s opportunities for transport and logistics companies to connect consumers with suppliers across multiple industries like cropping, livestock, quarries and energy.
Affordable industrial and residential real estate (in comparison to major centres) also mean the Western Downs promises business relocation and establishment opportunities.
Hear from a local business: DOM Distribution