Pilbara regional planning

The Pilbara is rich in natural resources, generating considerable wealth for both Western Australia and the nation from an economy dominated by the extraction, processing and export of minerals and hydrocarbons.

The Pilbara region is situated in the north of Western Australia between the Gascoyne, Mid-West and Kimberley regions. Encompassing 507,896 square kilometres across a vast array of landscapes, the region is divided into four local government authorities: the Shire of Ashburton; the Shire of East Pilbara; the City of Karratha, and; the Town of Port Hedland.

The Pilbara is recognised as a region of high environmental significance. The Pilbara can be considered in terms of three sub-regions, each with its own unique characteristics and natural heritage values. These are:

  • Coastal plan and offshore islands
  • Pilbara tablelands; and
  • Pilbara desert country.

The population of the Pilbara has grown from a few thousand in 1966 to approximately 61,000 in 2018. This population growth, which has been largely driven by the expansion of the resources sector, has been a significant catalyst for the establishment of settlements including Karratha, Port Hedland, Newman, Onslow and Tom Price. A significant number of remote Aboriginal settlements are also present in the Pilbara, along with historic towns such as Cossack.

To view more information about State Government's vision for the Pilbara please visit http://www.pdc.wa.gov.au/.

Local governments in the Pilbara

Regional planning strategies and actions are reflected and implemented in local planning strategies and schemes. There are four local governments in the Pilbara.

Aboriginal settlements

There are a number of remote Aboriginal settlements in the Pilbara. View the layout plans for remote Aboriginal settlements, prepared under State Planning Policy 3.2.

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

Page reviewed 7 September 2021