City of Karratha

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Economic Development - External Environment factors

A number of themes and statements raised regarding the external environmental influences on the City have been captured below and it is recommended that you review this prior to addressing the questions under each theme.

The below points and the additional feedback you provide will be used to help guide our new Economic Development Strategy.


  • Migration is an opportunity to boost our population, however immigration requirements can be a barrier.
  • Government grants and support is very helpful and enables retention and growth of existing businesses. We need to avoid businesses closing down where possible.
  • Community leadership is very important to manage the environment and climate. People look to local leaders to communicate the vision and direction the City is moving in.


  • Rock art is accessible – less than 30mins from Airport.
  • Words associated with Karratha – Natural, Historical, Ancient.
  • The islands are remarkable and hold rock art and ancient heritage with both aboriginal and European heritage value.
  • The landscape is unique and spectacular but it is undersold because there is not a strong enough connection and relationship to it. Not many people know of the stories of the past and these stories have the potential to give people a greater connection to Karratha and the Pilbara.
  • We are not a gateway to the Pilbara, we are the Pilbara.
  • Cossack is the first settlement/town in the North West of Australia.
  • The physical environment and infrastructure is good in Karratha.
  • Education and the perception of schools (in particular high schools) is important in deciding to live in a place. People stay until their kids are in high school and then leave for education.


  • People have readjusted their expectations as the fear of losing their job has worn off and people are living their life, celebrating birthdays and anniversaries again (life goes on).
  • The shopping centre is a problem from an urban design perspective as it is not conducive to an attractive and vibrant town centre.
  • 8,000 parcels are delivered each week into Karratha (6x higher than Australian average).
  • We have an image problem from the pre-boom days. People outside of the City don’t know how good it is here.
  • Drive tourist market in the region is the most significant, it’s hard to get people to fly for a short-stay because of the cost of flights.


  • Power is now interconnected between towns and there is a focus on renewable technology.
  • Rio Tinto, Woodside & Yara at the cutting edge of technology.
  • There is highly advanced technology in place but the Pilbara image does not seem to reflect this. Innovation is happening but it takes time.


  • The unemployment rate is low ~1-2%. There are lots of jobs available and not enough people to fill them.
  • Low unemployment is a barrier for new business due to the need for local labour and motivated self-starters.
  • The low unemployment rate means we can attract people here with a job.
  • A lack of optimism about the prospect of success is a barrier for investment.
  • Other barriers include the amount of work required to start a business, costs including staff, power rent, and what the possible return could be.
  • Debt servicing requirements are causing high rents and asking prices for commercial property.
  • Landowners who charge high lease/rents not helpful to small business in a weaker economy, however the economy is upward and has improved.
  • Browse to Burrup pipeline is likely and LNG is being used as a transport fuel. Growing demand ensures long term future for the City.
  • Mining/resources/energy unlikely to have the same boom and impact on other industries. We are now setup for growth with land/infrastructure/amenities/services etc. all in place to support growth and any boom.
  • Macro/global factors are forcing efficiency, cutbacks and cautious decision-making so that there is more consistent and incremental growth. There is an opportunity to leverage this new environment.
  • Natural closure of construction projects is a reality. This should be embraced and leveraged. Acknowledge the operations will increase once the construction has been completed.
  • It is difficult to compete with online businesses such as Amazon. However, relationships and niche markets are an opportunity to have a point of difference/unique boutique offerings need to grow from home-based into something more.
  • Housing is more affordable.
  • There is a need to support existing business, but lack of competition can hurt the market, so competition is a good thing.
  • There are diverse job roles in mining which can be applied to different industries.



  • Increasingly litigious environment and business have to be compliant which can be a barrier.

If you have anything to add to this please comment in the box below, otherwise return to the six categories here