Strategic Priorities

The Gascoyne Development Commission exists to progress the region’s economic and social development. The Commission achieves this by providing coordination, facilitation, enabling and advocacy functions. We also achieve this through strong project delivery. The Gascoyne’s unique blend of environmental and cultural assets and primary production capabilities are the foundation for sustainable development.

The Commission remains focused on the five priorities below.

Growing primary production

Labour markets, biosecurity and land supply are central themes in the Commission’s endeavours to grow primary production. The Commission has worked closely with stakeholders to monitor and address workforce limitations, facilitate industry innovation, and remove barriers to industry development. Other recent highlights include:

  • The Commission helped enable the 300ha expansion of the Gascoyne Food Bowl.
  • Two new primary production projects were funded through round three of the Regional Economic Development Grants program:
    • The Gascoyne Growers online market.
    • Abacus Fisheries cold-chain processing.
  • The Commission facilitated a review of industry-led options to improve biosecurity in the Carnarvon horticulture district.
  • The Commission worked with primary producers to gather intelligence on workforce supply and demand. This information was used by WA Government agencies and industry peak bodies to develop strategies to ease labour market shortages for the region’s primary industries.
  • We supported a range of important primary production sector initiatives to expand their reach in the region.
  • We helped pave the way for primary production and catchment management initiatives by creating connections between stakeholders including the Traditional Owners of the region. We also enabled strategic planning to guide future activities.
  • Our support helped the Gascoyne Food Festival achieve great success. The 2020 festival was reinstated after being initially called off due to COVID-19. The festival program was expanded in 2020 to include two new events: Canapés on the Gascoyne and Gazing the Gascoyne.

Value Adding

The Commission is currently working closely with the Gascoyne Food Council and Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development to develop a Gascoyne Food and Beverage Capability GuideThe guide will help restaurants, retailers, consumers and other buyers source fresh and value-added products from the Gascoyne Region. It is free for business to be featured within the guide. 

Please register your interest to be included in the Gascoyne Food and Beverage Capability Guide.

Growing tourism

The Gascoyne region is characterised by its unique natural assets: dark skies, two world-heritage listed areas, and the iconic Burringurrah or Mt Augustus - Australia’s largest rock. The Commission is driven to further unlock the region’s tourism potential. Our focus is on supporting tourism enterprises to grow and prosper, with a strong emphasis on new Aboriginal cultural and inland experiences. The Gascoyne’s destination narrative and tourism brands are crucial to expanding the region’s tourism sector and we have focused our efforts on initiatives that support tourist stay and spend, and those which extend the tourism season. We have also worked hard to facilitate improvements in tourism infrastructure. Recent highlights include:

  • With our partners, we developed and contributed to proposals and funding submissions for tourism development projects across the region.
  • The Commission developed a viable business case for the restoration of Carnarvon’s One Mile Jetty and helped attract $4.5 million in State government funding to support the One Mile Jetty Reconstruction project.
  • We are leading a collaborative approach to reimagining the World Heritage Shark Bay region for new commercial ventures and tourism experiences as part of the Destination Shark Bay initiative.
  • We signed up to become members of the Ningaloo Tourism Advisory Group, and through the group, helped develop an action plan to support the sustainable development of the Ningaloo Tourism Sector.
  • We supported the Ningaloo Resilient Reef Strategy – a plan to support the ecologically sustainable development of the reef and the communities that depend on it.
  • We led or supported over 25 cross-sectoral groups to drive economic development and jobs in the region.
  • We worked closely with Screenwest to deliver the Western Australian Screen Fund. The fund is a WA state government initiative and has triggered almost $3 million in direct investment in the region, 19 regional jobs and engagement of Aboriginal consultants on two major projects. The projects will showcase the Gascoyne Region to a global audience. Additional information about GDC's involvement in Shipwreck Hunters Australia can be viewed here.
  • We hosted a Curtin Business School intern, who researched tourism development opportunities across the region.
  • We continued our influential role in investigating a marine infrastructure solution to support future cruise ship visitation to the Ningaloo Coast.
  • We worked with stakeholders and agencies to begin preparing the Northwest Cape for the 2023 Total Solar Eclipse.
  • We also worked with partners to investigate enabling infrastructure needs and opportunities including digital connectivity, tourist visitation data and analytics, air service routes and workers accommodation.
  • We funded three new projects to support tourism in the Gascoyne, through Regional Economic Grants round three.
  • We supported the Denham Seaside Caravan Park to complete their expansion project, with funding support from RED Grants round two.

Aboriginal economic development

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people represent 14 per cent of the Gascoyne’s population. There is also a rich diversity of Aboriginal people and cultures in the region, and yet, Aboriginal people remain worse off than non-Aboriginal people in terms of health and economic outcomes.

The Commission recognises that more needs to be done to improve the participation of Aboriginal people in the broader economy.

Throughout 2020-21, the Commission strived to deliver transformational projects with Aboriginal people in the region. We provided advice and support to build the capacity of Aboriginal businesses and organisations. Recent highlights include:

  • The Commission began a partnership with the WA Indigenous Tourism Council to provide mentoring and business development support to Aboriginal Cultural Tourism start-ups.
  • We used our event planning expertise to deliver the 2020 Aboriginal Business Development forum which resulted in ongoing business mentoring and coaching in Carnarvon at Gwoonwardu Mia.
  • The Gascoyne Regional Economic Development Grants round three supported the Carnarvon-based ABC Foundation Food for the Mob project, which will provide training for up to 10 Aboriginal people in hospitality and food services.
  • We supported Carnarvon local and Aboriginal person Jalba Dann to attend the WA Regional Tourism Conference in Geraldton.
  • We supported all four local governments in their endeavours to recognise and promote the rich cultural heritage of the region.
  • We provided support and mentorship to Tidal Moon Sea Cucumbers to progress their project funded by Regional Economic Development Grants round two.

Aboriginal Business Directory

Many amazing Aboriginal Businesses can be found in the Gascoyne, take a look at our Aboriginal Business Directory to support local Aboriginal business.

Developing future jobs and employees

The Commission continues to seek out new opportunities to develop future employees. Our priorities include supporting relevant local training, with a strong emphasis on primary industries, tourism, small business and technology. We work to find ways to encourage young people to establish careers in the region. Recent highlights include:

  • Strategies to address accommodation, childcare and labour shortages were developed through broad consultation with regional stakeholders, and through cross-regional collaboration with all nine Development Commissions across the state.
  • In partnership with the Gascoyne regional chambers of commerce and industry, we supported business innovation and growth across the region.
  • We have supported young people to achieve success in workplace traineeships and apprenticeships, including hosting a Public Sector Commission Indigenous Trainee in our Carnarvon office. 
  • We helped refer local businesses to small business support services provided by RSM business local, a Small Business Development Corporation service funded by the Government of Western Australia.
  • Workforce development has also been supported through funding from our Regional Economic Development Grants program. For example, we provided funding to the Exmouth Chamber of Commerce to successfully deliver the Exmouth Business Hub project. The project will provide a hub for local business development and has helped the Chamber leverage $290,000 in corporate funding to deliver its small business capacity-building and training program.
  • Through the Commission’s Local Content Advisor, Gascoyne businesses were assisted to secure State Government contracts.

Engaging with impact

As a key enabler of regional economic development, the Commission aims to work collaboratively with local, state & national key stakeholders. The Commission works to engage the community and industry in a genuine, efficient, effective, and contemporary manner.