Business & Economy > Key Industries

Agriculture & Fishing

Geraldton is at the heart of some of the finest food producing areas in Australia. From fish to fruit, and meat to wheat, the city and its surrounds lead the way in a number of food producing sectors.

Agriculture and fishing combined gross nearly $1 billion per year in the Mid West – with agriculture worth $792.2 million and rock lobster fishing worth $165.3 million this makes them among the most significant and valued industries in the region. The city’s neighbours to the north, south and east are also rich in food resources and see an abundance of agricultural activity every day. Geraldton provides a significant potential growth area for value added industries, in large because of its strategic location as the centre between the north and south food bowls.

With a growing population, highly affordable and available land and labour, a skilled workforce and fantastic transport links, Geraldton is primed to be home to an agricultural precinct.

In recent years, the region’s agricultural gross value has been $792.2 million, a substantial 12.6 per cent of the State total. The Mid West has the highest value fishing industry in Western Australia, accounting for 36 per cent of the State’s catch. There is also a healthy trade in livestock, such as cattle and sheep, and a vast amount of fruit and vegetable production in nearby regions.

Grains

More than half of all agricultural income to the region is derived from wheat production, with recent harvests valued at $432.7 million. The Geraldton Port is Australia’s second largest in terms of wheat export trade. The region’s high quality grain makes it ideal for milling and for use in a wide variety of processed foods. Cereal, lupin and legume crops are also grown here, with a lupin mill east of Geraldton. Vibrant horticulture and aquaculture sectors can be found both on the coast and inland.

Rock Lobster

By far the most valuable product in the fishing sector is the rock lobster. In a strong year, with the right combination of catch quantity and market price, the rock lobster industry can be worth as much as $165.3 million.

Intensive Horticulture

Geraldton is emerging as a significant producer of high end foods through its growing intensive horticultural industries. The quality soils, access to water and application of advanced shade-house technology means a long season of the freshest and cleanest variety of foods, including tomatoes, bitter melon, buffalo spinach, Chinese cabbage, coriander, egg plants, garlic and more.

Pastoral Country Livestock

Geraldton is the gateway to the vast pastoral regions of the North West of WA. As recognised in CSIRO’s report on the Northern Australia Sustainable Yields Project, this mega-region has been identified as a global producer of quality natural livestock for consumption.

Carnarvon Food Bowl

Sitting just 440 kilometres north of Geraldton is the Carnarvon Food Bowl, identified by State Government as a strategic investment area for horticultural expansion. With 170 plantations, Carnarvon produces bananas, tomatoes, table grapes, capsicum, melons, mangos, citrus, stone-fruit and papaya. Approximately 37,000 tonnes was grown by the Gascoyne horticultural industry in 2007. The Carnarvon horticulture industry has grown significantly over the last 10 years with the value of production nearly doubling. In 2009 the State Government announced it would contribute $7.4 million to the replacement of the Carnarvon Irrigation District pipeline, in recognition of the role that production from the Carnarvon Horticultural District plays in providing food for the State. A Ministerial Reference Group was formed to forward the Gascoyne Food Bowl Initiative. This initiative would bring their departments together to work together to make additional land and water available to horticultural production.

Mining

The Mid West has a long history of resource development and is one of the most diverse mining regions in Western Australia. The resources of the region include nickel, gold, oil and gas, mineral sands, copper, zinc and lead concentrate, talc, garnet and iron ore. In mid 2010, there were 17 active resource projects and another 21 new projects being progressed to operational status.

Mining and mineral resources constitute the highest grossing industry in the Mid West. In 2009-10, the sector’s value was estimated at $2.5 billion (excluding offshore petroleum), with on-shore crude oil, condensate and natural gas valued at an additional $52.5 million.

Gold mining contributed $816.6 million, accounting for 32.3 per cent of regional mining. Talc, nickel and cobalt collectively amounted to $449.9 million (17.8 per cent), copper, lead and zinc, collectively totalled $431.8 million (17.1 per cent), iron ore contributed $415.7 million (16.4 per cent), and heavy mineral sands and chromite $337.8 million (13.3 per cent).

The value of production in the region peaked in 2006-07, when the value of output reached $3.2 billion (including onshore petroleum). A number of factors contributed to the 2006-07 value including higher commodity prices and high overseas demand for resources. It is anticipated the region will experience another large growth spurt with the development of new resource projects. This includes a number of large, long term, iron ore investments, such as the $1.8 billion Karara project currently under construction.

These iron ore projects will provide the tonnages necessary to underpin the development of new strategic infrastructure, including a new deepwater port and industrial estate at Oakajee, linked to the mineral rich hinterland by a heavy gauge rail line. The Western Australian and Federal governments jointly committed $678 million to the common user infrastructure of the deep-water port.

Source: Mid West Development Commission, Mid West: a region in profile (ISSN 1837-946x)

Tourism

Geraldton is a growing regional city, overlooking the Indian Ocean and supporting an expanding population of 38,000 people. The regional hub of the Mid West, Geraldton looks out to pristine coastline with the mysterious Abrolhos Islands beckoning beyond. With rolling hills to the east and the Chapman and Greenough Rivers framing the city, Geraldton will provide you with truly memorable holiday experiences.

We challenge you to take a fresh look at Geraldton and experience wildflower country, enjoy a growing regional city, be blown away, explore a region rich in history, taste a fresh flavour every day, celebrate culture and custom, discover a scenic outlook, bask in a classic Mediterranean climate and find a great place to drop anchor.

If you want a holiday with city excitement, it’s here. A relaxed country experience? It’s here too. And a beach holiday? Well, you’ve certainly come to the right place. Geraldton’s incredible location lends itself to a host of holiday activities, especially water sports. Windsurfing, kite surfing, surfing, fishing, diving and swimming are popular choices for the energetic. While those looking to relax will love lazing on Geraldton’s white sandy beaches, strolling its shorelines or wading in the turquoise shallows.

After your day at the beach, you’ll love all the city attractions. Shopping, cinemas, theatre, restaurants, character pubs and nightlife – yes, this is the holiday you deserve. Art and culture enthusiasts will adore the range of galleries showcasing local talent and Indigenous art. You’ll also revel in the WA Museum Geraldton – a state of the art facility showcasing the region’s rich maritime, natural and cultural histories.

A hill top memorial to the lost sailors of the HMAS Sydney II will tap at the core of your emotions. This stunning memorial overlooks the city and harbour and has people from across the country talking about its beautiful and moving design.

So, if it’s been a while since you’ve visited Geraldton, it’s time to take a fresh look. With an extensive range of accommodation to suit any budget, regular flights and bus services from Perth, everybody can visit Geraldton.

Visit the Geraldton Visitor Centre website for more information.