City of Karratha

City of Karratha Local Economy and Small Business Update - September 2018

28 Sep 2018

Introductory text here

Quick links:

  • Recap what has happened over the last year.
  • General look ahead – Positive, buoyant, lots of projects on the horizon.
  • Ready for growth –open for business.
  • What is awesome about living and working here?  What keeps me living and working in Karratha.

Diversifying our economy is vital to our long-term sustainability as a thriving community and is a key deliverable of our Economic Development Strategy. We plan to grow small and medium enterprise and recognise creative industries as an economic driverto ensure we are not fully reliant on the resources industry.

Sahara Forest Project

Sahara Forest Project completed a feasibility study in April 2018 which assessed the viability ofa two or 20-hectare greenhouse facility. The study identified a number of industrial synergies with other established businesses in Karratha and proposed  developing a renewable enterprise hub or Eco Hub. The project aims to produce food, freshwater and clean energy using greenhouse, seawater and energy from solar farms.

Pilbara Rock Oyster Research and Development

This project is the first step in developing a commercial oyster industry, which would create local jobs and stimulate economic activity.  A trial oyster farm on the Burrup Peninsula is underway and if successful will help diversify our economy.

Pilbara Universities Centre

Modelled on the successful Geraldton Universities Centre, the PUC partners with universities to support local students enrolled in distance courses and responds to the community’s needs and demands for course areas and direction. An application has been submitted to the Federal Government to receive part of the $16.7M Regional Study Hubs Program funding to establish a university centre in Karratha. Funding is expected to be announced in September.

Solar Energy

GHD have been engaged to commission a study to assess the suitability of our region for renewable energy, such as wind and power generation. The City has received the draft study and is =assessing its viability.  The City will seek investment from key stakeholders to progress this project.

The Quarter Hotel

Pacifica Development have been engaged to build a Marriot or Hilton 100-bed 4-star hotel in Karratha’s CBD.  This $19.7 million development will provide high endaccommodation and attract more visitors to the region.  This project is expected to generate 50 construction jobs and up to 50 ongoing jobs.

Tambrey Shopping Precinct

Located 4km from Karratha’s city centre, this proposed development precinct is a large mixed-use site in the suburb of Nickol. 

Gap Ridge Homemaker Centre

Designed to accommodate Karratha’sgrowing demand for household goods and services, the Homemaker Centre is ideally located near residential estates, Karratha’s CBD and the neighbouring Gap Ridge Industrial Estate. With four lots available for sale or lease and one anchor tenant  secured, this is a prime opportunity for businesses wanting to kick off in Karratha.  For more information, please contact LandCorp.

Karratha - Tom Price Road Project

The WA Government allocated $50 million in the 2018-19 budget to reseal the next stage of the Karratha to Tom Price Road. Sealing this road will provide many benefits such as connecting Karratha to the greater Pilbara, providing accessibility to Karijini National Park from Karratha and enable drive-in, drive-out opportunities for isolated mine sites. Specifically, Balla Balla and Flinders mine could see an injection of up to 850 people living locally, which would provide an estimated $1.68 billion injection into Karratha’s local economy.


The resources industry has stabilised in recent months and a number of exciting new development and growth projects are being considered.   These will offer a number of benefits to the City, including increased jobs population growth, and increased local and visitor spend.

Balla Balla

Balla Balla Infrastructure Group are in the process of securing approval to revive the historical Balla Balla port, whichcombined with the construction of a world class railway will enable low cost, high value export of bulk iron ore from the central Pilbara.  With a project value of $6 billion and estimated 3,000 construction and 165 operational jobs, Karratha will be the city hub for Balla Balla’s requirements.

Scarborough, Woodside

This gas resource is located in the Carnarvon Basin 375km west-north-west of the Burrup Peninsula.  Estimated to contain 7.3 trillion cubic feet of dry gas, Woodside has proposed to develop a 430km pipeline to transport the gas to existing onshore Pluto LNG facilities. Pluto would have additional processing capacity installed, which would create more jobs within the City of Karratha.  The final investment decision is expected in 2020 and these additional gas reserves are expected to extend the life of Pluto for up to 40 years.

Browse, Woodside

The Calliance, Brecknock and Torosa gas fields are collectively known as the Browse Resources and located 425km north of Broome. . The three fields represent Australia’s largest untapped conventional gas resource. The development will meet increasing LNG demand and provide benefits for the next 30 years. The development will include two Floating Gas Production Storage and Offloading facilities (FPSO’s) and deliver 10 million tonnes of gas to the existing North West Shelf infrastructure per year Woodside will use 900km of pipeline to transport the gas to the Karratha Gas Plant (KGP).  This export pipeline will take two years to manufacture and one year to install. The final investment decision is expected by 2021 and the ready for start-up phase is expected to be 2026/27.

Karratha’s real estate market experienced strong growth over the past 12 months. The median house price grew 13.5 per cent during the December 2017 quarter, which was the strongest quarterly growth recorded in WA and outperformed Perth. It is anticipated the housing market will remain stable for the remainder of 2018 and trend upwards during 2019 as a result of mining and construction projects coming online.

  1. Current rental availability: 160 houses available for rent
  2. Current house sale availability: 122 houses for sale
  3. Median house rental price- $450 per week (2017)
  4. Median house sale price – $271,016 (2017)

The number of tourism operators in the Karratha region are increasing. Providing high quality experiences to visitors and residents is vital for the successful diversification of our economy and to achieve our vision to become the most liveable city in regional Australia, Karratha is the gateway for world-class tourism experiences including islands, natural parks, ancient rock art and cultural eco-tourism. Existing tourism operators include:

  1. Heli Spirit
  2. Pilbara Tour Co.
  3. Pilbara Dive and tours
  4. Ngurrangga Tours
  5. Pelican Charters
  6. Discovery cruising
  7. Karratha Visitor Centre


Destination Management Plan:

A project designed to market and position Karratha as a progressive city with premier tourist experiences, high quality facilities, services and investment opportunities. 

  1. What it identifiedPeople still view Karratha as a mining town with limited infrastructure and appeal.
  2. What are the opportunities?
    1. Working collaboratively between Council and industry to grow the visitor economy.
    2. Introducing new and unique experiences for visitors which leverage off our natural beauty and assets.
    3. Raise the profile of Karratha by holding signature events which people would travel to Karratha to experience.
    4. Improve the image of Karratha as an enticing destination.
  3. What does this mean? There has never a better time to develop your business in Karratha. The City of Karratha wants to support all new businesses which align with this strategy.  For more information, please contact the Economic Development team (contact details here)


Place Branding Strategy:

  1. What is it and what it means
  2. Never been a better time
  3. Market your business


Tourism Expenditure (Spendmapp) July 17 2017-June 18 2018:

  1. Visitor local spend - $208.2m


Tourism Advisory Group:

The Tourism Advisory Group (TAG) was formed in 2014 to provide advice to Council on tourism development matters.  Members include a variety of agencies across all levels of government, local business support groups and traditional owner corporations.  The group’s primary objectives are to provide advice on:

  1. The development of tourist events, facilities and infrastructure;
  2. Tourist information and marketing;
  3. Destination management; and
  4. Support needed to develop tourism products and businesses

The City of Karratha is committed to supporting local business to thrive in our community.   
Learn about some of the new businesses here: 

Pilbara Dive and Tours

Locally owned and operated, Pilbara Dive and Tours provides professional scuba diving experiences and guided tours in and around the Karratha area located in Western Australia.  With more than 20 years’ experience Pilbara Dive and Tours will help you explore both below and above the water.

The Dampier Archipelago lies of the Pilbara coast west of Karratha and consists of 42 islands.  With beautiful white sandy beaches and pristine coral reefs it is no surprise that a large and diverse range of marine animals can be found here.  Between July and September Humpback whales are regularly seen and from September to April several species of turtles use the beaches to nest.

Pilbara Dive and Tours is owned and operated by PADI Dive Instructor Natalie Callanan. Natalie has been a passionate scuba diver for over 20 years. She first learned to dive in 1995 on the Great Barrier Reef and around its islands near Mackay, QLD. Within 2 years she gained many achievements and experiences as a recreational scuba diver and decided to further her love of diving by becoming a PADI Dive Master and working for Mackay Adventures Divers in the late 1990’s.

Karratha Campervans

A new and exciting business which will allow locals and visitors to hire out fully self-contained (and air-conditioned) Toyota Hilux 2 birth campers.  These beauties can be set up specifically for your requirements and will allow you to travel in ease throughout the Pilbara.  Minimum 3 night hire and all you need to bring is your food and clothes! 


Marty Crouch – 0448 050 577

Playful Little Learners

Amy is a mum of 4 who has hung up her teaching boots and is focusing on her passion of helping parents and educators champion play in the early years to use play as a tool to connect with their children, develop their skills and encourage independence. Her goal is to share insights, ideas and strategies, tools and tips from experts all around the world to simplify life with young kids and make it as easy as possible for you to get playful!

In 2018 Amy will be extending to a membership site which will offer online courses, frameworks and resources to be purchased. 

If you are interested to learn more head to or follow her on Instagram @playfullittlelearners or @earlylearning101.

Barefoot Creations

Barefoot Creations was created by Lana Armstrong because she wanted to raise her children up in a world without being exposed to harsh chemicals which can be easily avoided.  Lana is driven to make sure their impact on the environment is one of sustainability rather than destruction.  Barefoot Creations offers an online store (with Australia wide shipping options), useful information, natural remedies, recipes, workshop information and so much more.

Supporting the development of small and medium enterprises is a key deliverable of the City’s Strategic Community Plan. We offer a number of grant schemes to assist small businesses within the City of Karratha and support local collaborators and organisations to develop and deliver innovative projects with economic benefits.  These grants include:

  • Take Your Business Online grant:
    Offers local smallbusinesses financial assistance of up to $5,000 on a matched dollar for dollar basis to improve their digital capacity and marketing to increase competitiveness, innovation and efficiency of the enterprises’ operations, products and services.
  • Business Development Support grant:
    Offers local small businesses financial assistance of up to $30,000 per event on a matched dollar for dollar basis (to?)

The City of Karratha is committed to actively supporting small business in by working with and supporting all businesses. We are proud to say our local government is ‘small business friendly’ under the State Government’s Small Business Development Corporation’s initiative (what does this mean?).

 Karratha and Districts Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KDCCI)

A not-for-profit organisation that represents the needs and aspirations of the local business community and provides a strong, active and independent voice for its members. The City provides funding for not-forprofit and community groups to utilise the KDCCI’s co-working space and services.

The Business Centre Pilbara

The Business Centre Pilbara is a not-for-profit organisation supporting business owners throughout all phases of the business cycle. The services they provide include advice, guidance, development, training and networking opportunities.

The Small Business Advisory Group

Their objective is to discuss key initiatives or proposals and provide advice, feedback and suggestions to Council.   If you are interested in becoming a member, please contact

Small Business Development Corporation

Through its outreach advisory service, Business Local, SBDC provides free advice and guidance to small business owners throughout Karratha. Business Local also run free seminars and development sessions on a broad range of topics.