The remote eastern area of the Gascoyne is a place of significant cultural, natural and historical attractions. It offers a magnificent arid landscape, remoteness, spectacular river systems and the Mt Augustus and Kennedy Range National Parks. Mt Augustus is at the heart of this area, a spectacular sandstone and conglomerate structure which rises 700m above the surrounding plain (1105m Australian Height Datum). The area could be considered as the „last frontier‟ for regional development.
A fledgling tourism industry presently services a very small but growing number of visitors as the demand for an outback experience increases. Although this could be the catalyst for development in the remote Region there is evidence that also supports opportunities for agriculture and service industries.
In 2006 and 2007, the Gascoyne Development Commission worked with the Department of Agriculture and Food WA to identify the best way to progress development in this part of the Region. The area, for all intensive purposes, is a „green field‟ site and the opportunity exists for the State Government to lay the foundations and progress development.
On the 1 February 2007 the then Cabinet Standing Committee on Regional Policy endorsed the establishment of a Taskforce to prepare and commence implementing a comprehensive development plan for Mt Augustus and inland Gascoyne. The inaugural Mt Augustus and Gascoyne Outback Development Taskforce meeting was held in Carnarvon on 21 August 2007.
Regional Development Scheme funding for $45,000 was approved in 2006. The funds, including Department of Agriculture and Food WA and Gascoyne Development Commission’s contribution, were used to support and manage the Taskforce. The Taskforce was chaired by the Gascoyne Development Commission. In addition consultants were engaged by the Department of Agriculture and Food to assist the Taskforce to research options for a development plan.
This report was compiled with the assistance of members of the Mt Augustus and Gascoyne Outback Development Taskforce (Department of Agriculture WA, Gascoyne Development Commission, Tourism WA, Department of Environment and Conservation, Department of Regional Development and Lands, Burringurrah Aboriginal Community, Australia’s Golden Outback, Shires of Carnarvon and Upper Gascoyne) and Main Roads WA Gascoyne, Department of Water, Ferart Design, Gascoyne Catchments Group, and the Ecologically Sustainable Rangelands Management officers.
Note: Care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of information contained within this document by reference to Government Departments, Local Governments, Web sites, files and library documents held by the Gascoyne Development Commission and interviews with various stakeholders.
Information contained in this document may be used by any party on condition that the Mt Augustus and Gascoyne Outback Development Taskforce Final Report December 2010 and the Gascoyne Development Commission are acknowledged.