Kimberley regional planning

The Kimberley is an expanse of tropical savannas bordered by the Timor Sea to the north, the Northern Territory to the east, the Indian Ocean to the west and the deserts of the Pilbara and the interior to the south.
Last updated:

The Kimberley is in the northern most region of Western Australia. There are four local governments in the Kimberley: Broome; Derby/West Kimberley; Halls Creek, and; Wyndham-East Kimberley. 

The Kimberley region is a unique part of Australia. It is characterised by a landscape which includes unique flora and fauna that is acknowledged internationally. While historically the region has been considered remote, it is only a few hours away by air from significant global markets and populations to the north including China, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia.

The Region has an existing resident population of around 35,000. Broome, Derby, Fitzroy Crossing, Halls Creek, Wyndham and Kununurra are the main population centres. Aboriginal peoples, who account for nearly half of the Kimberley's current population, have a significant cultural legacy and associated custodial responsibilities across the region's lands and waters.

Historically, the region's economy has expanded due to opportunities in the pearling, pastoral and agricultural industries. Settlements have grown in support of industry and population growth while investment in the region's utility, community and transport infrastructure networks has ensured access to services, connections within and outside the region and the means to export goods.

The Kimberley continues to experience land use changes. Tourism, horticulture, increasing interest in resource development and pressure for improved infrastructure offer opportunities for the community, particularly in relation to employment prospects and better service delivery. This increased activity also presents a number of management challenges. Of particular concern is the protection of significant environments, preservation of Aboriginal culture and heritage, and maintenance of the unique lifestyle enjoyed by its residents.

Kimberley regional planning and infrastructure framework

The Kimberley regional planning and infrastructure framework was prepared under the direction of the Kimberley Regional Planning Committee and was published in December 2015.

The KRPIF sets clear goals, identifies opportunities and defines clear and realistic planning initiatives. The KRPIF aligns with the State Planning Strategy (2012) which outlines the State Government's intention to undertake a collaborative approach in planning for the State's infrastructure, environment, food security, land availability, economic development, education, training and knowledge transfer.

The KRPIF was prepared under the auspices of the Kimberley Regional Planning Committee (KRPC) of the WAPC. The KRPC was established in 2009 with its initial priority to prepare a Regional Framework for the Kimberley. The KRPC had a diverse membership including representation from State and local government, industry, Aboriginal groups and the broader community.

During preparation of the KRPIF, the KRPC worked with Aboriginal groups including Prescribed Bodies Corporate and the Kimberley Land Council, stakeholders from State agencies, infrastructure providers and local government.

Local governments in the Kimberley

Strategies and actions contained in the Kimberley Regional Planning and Infrastructure Framework, are reflected and implemented in local planning strategies and local planning schemes for each of the four local governments in the Kimberley:

Aboriginal settlements

There are many Aboriginal settlements in the Kimberley. Layout plans have been prepared for a number of Aboriginal settlements in the Kimberley. 

Regional north land capacity analysis

The regional north land capacity analysis provides a broad overview of the land capacity of settlements in the Gascoyne, Indian Ocean Territories, Kimberley and Pilbara regions with respect to forecast population growth.

View the Regional north land capacity analysis page

Shire of Broome

The Shire of Broome covers an area of 56,000 square kilometres and is located in the north-west Kimberley Region of Western Australia, 2,200 kilometres north of Perth. The shire has a tropical climate with hot and humid summers and warm winters. The traditional owners of Broome Townsite, the Yawuru people, recognise six separate seasons, however in general there are two distinct seasons which influence lifestyle and visitation patterns: the 'wet' usually from December to March; and the 'dry' for the remainder of the year.

The shire is a unique place in which to live and visit. Its environment, culture, history, and society have all contributed to a distinctive and active, multicultural, contemporary community.

The shire has a strong and celebrated Aboriginal culture from many tribes, many thousands of years old. Many traditional owners and native title claimants live in the town of Broome and in communities throughout the shire. Tribal dance, language, culture, and law are still actively practised in some communities. Japanese, Malay, Filipino, Chinese, Timorese, and Koepanger cultural influences from generations past still strongly influence the daily lives of many families - in their history, cuisine, relationships, skills, crafts, celebrations, spirituality, and funerals.

The shire also has a rich settlement history associated with pearling and the pastoral industry.

The shire landscape has an extraordinary prehistoric presence preserved by isolation, with some of the oldest recorded Aboriginal art in Australia and some of the earliest recorded European visits. The town of Broome is situated on the end of a Peninsula, surrounded by ocean, and land-locked by distance. White sandy beaches are framed on one side by blue ocean waters and on the other by red pindan soils, providing the backdrop for many recreational and tourist activities.

Shire of Derby West Kimberley

The Shire of Derby–West Kimberley is located in the North West Kimberley Region of Western Australia. It covers an area of 118,560 square kilometres and is located more than 2,300 kilometres north of Perth. The Shire is dissected east-west by both the Great Northern Highway and the Gibb River Road and is bound by the Shire of Wyndham-East Kimberley to the north, the Shire of Halls Creek to the east, the Shire of Broome to the west and the Shire of East Pilbara to the south. The Shire also has an expansive coastline that extends from King Sound in a northerly direction to Doubtful Bay. Numerous islands are adjacent to the coastline and are located within the boundaries of the Shire (Map 1).

Land use and development within the Shire has historically been dominated by the pastoral industry and it remains the major land use today. The resource industry is an emerging growth sector that is seeking to access a broad range of mineral deposits that exist within the Shire boundaries. Both land-based and marine-based tourism are also experiencing growth and impacting on land use in the Shire.

There are three gazetted townsites within the Shire (Derby, Fitzroy Crossing and Camballin) plus approximately forty-eight discrete remote Aboriginal communities. However, much of the Shire remains characterised by isolated terrain that crosses a number of different vegetation and landform regimes that cumulatively provide a diverse, isolated, rugged and rich landscape.

Shire of Halls Creek

Halls Creek is a busy service town for surrounding pastoralists, Aboriginal communities and travellers exploring northern Western Australia. Halls Creek is also the fourth fastest growing shire within Western Australia.

Situated in the heart of the Kimberley, Halls Creek is the gateway to a range of world renowned natural attractions, including the World Heritage listed Bungle Bungle ranges of Purnululu National Park.

Located on the edges of the Great Sandy Desert and Tanami Desert, 362km south of Kununurra, 1288km south-west of Darwin and 2873km north-east of Perth, Halls Creek offers a genuine insight into the spectacular Australian outback.

Covering some 142,908 square kilometres of predominantly desert and pastoral country, Halls Creek has something for everyone, from wide open spaces and magnificent natural attractions, to rich Aboriginal and European history and culture.

Shire of Wyndham East Kimberley

The Shire of Wyndham East Kimberley is located in the ruggedly picturesque and sparsely populated northeast corner of Western Australia (WA), stretching from the Northern Territory border to the northern most tip of WA.

The Shire covers an area of 121,000 square kilometres and is one of four local governments that make up the Kimberley region. The Shire includes the towns of Kununurra and Wyndham and there are also a number of Aboriginal Communities; the largest being Kalumburu, which is situated in the northern part of the Shire.

The Shire boasts many attractions some of which include Carboyd Ranges, Celebrity Tree Park, Cockburn Ranges, Drysdale River National Park, Emma Gorge, Five Rivers Lookout (the Bastion), Gibb River Road, The Grotto, Ivanhoe Crossing, Kelly's Knob, Kununurra Diversion Dam/Lake Kununurra, Lake Argyle, Lily Lagoons, Mirima National Park, Mitchell River National Park, Ord River Irrigation Area, Ord River, Parry's Lagoon Nature Reserve, Pentecost River, Ragged Range, Wyndham Community Fishing Jetty and Zebedee Springs.

Many significant events occur in the Shire including the Ord Valley Muster, Lake Argyle Swim, Kununurra Agricultural Show, Kimberley Writers Festival, Kununurra Rodeo, Kununurra and Wyndham Races, Stars on the Bastion, and Dam-Dam Dingy Dash.

The Shire is currently experiencing a period of growth relating to the Ord East Kimberley Expansion project.

With its tropical climate and its many natural attractions, the Shire of Wyndham East Kimberley is the eastern gateway to the Kimberley.