Regions of Western Australia

Western Australia (WA) is divided into regions according to a number of systems.

Regions of Western Australia
LocationWestern Australia
Number9, excluding the metropolitan region
GovernmentRegional councils, State government

The most common system is the WA Government division of the state into regions for economic development purposes, which comprises nine defined regions; however, there are a number of other systems, including those made for purposes of land management (such as agriculture and conservation), information gathering (such as statistical and meteorological), and election for political office.

The various different systems were defined for different purposes, and give specific boundaries, but although many of the different systems' regions have similar names, they have different boundaries; the names and boundaries of regions can and do vary between systems.

The Regional Development Commissions Act regionsEdit

The Western Australian system of regions defined by the Government of Western Australia for purposes of economic development administration, which excludes the Perth metropolitan area, is a series of nine regions.

These nine regions were established by the Regional Development Commissions Act 1993, which defined their extents and established Regional Development Commissions to promote their economic development.[1] In defining the regions, an attempt was made to capture distinct socio-economic communities. For example, the Goldfields–Esperance region of Western Australia has an economy based heavily on mining, whereas the Wheatbelt region is economically dependent on agriculture.

Region Largest city Number of
LGAs (list)
Land area Map Ref.
Gascoyne Carnarvon 4 137,938 km2 (53,258.16 sq mi)   [2]
Goldfields–Esperance Kalgoorlie 9 771,276 km2 (297,791.33 sq mi)   [3]
Great Southern Albany 11 39,007 km2 (15,060.69 sq mi)   [4]
Kimberley Broome 4 424,517 km2 (163,906.93 sq mi)   [5]
Mid West Geraldton 17 478,000 km2 (184,556.83 sq mi)   [6]
Peel Mandurah 5 6,648 km2 (2,566.81 sq mi)   [7]
Pilbara Karratha 4 507,896 km2 (196,099.74 sq mi)   [8]
South West Bunbury 12 24,000 km2 (9,266.45 sq mi)   [9]
Wheatbelt Northam 42 154,862 km2 (59,792.55 sq mi)   [10]

Inter-regional travel restrictions during COVID-19 pandemicEdit

Chittering checkpoint from the south, May 2020

During the Western Australian government response to the COVID-19 pandemic, travel between regions – other than between Perth and Peel – was restricted, with police checkpoints set up at the borders. Only essential travel was allowed.[11] At some checkpoints, police were assisted by army and State Emergency Service personal;[12] the army did not have any authority to prosecute or arrest.[13] Remote communities and some "biosecurity areas"[14] had further travel restrictions[15] due to the lack of medical facilities and number of high risk community members. Some inter-regional restrictions were lifted on 18 May,[16][14] and on 5 June all regional restrictions were removed except for remote Aboriginal communities.[17]

On 31 January 2021, after a quarantine hotel security guard in Perth tested positive, a five day lockdown, from 6pm on 31 January until 6pm on 5 February was declared. Schools scheduled to resume on 1 February were to remain closed for another week.[18] The areas affected were: "... the whole Perth metropolitan area, the Peel region and the South West region ..."[18]

Bureau of Meteorology regionsEdit

The same region names as those used by the Regional Development Commissions Act (RDCA) are incorporated into the system used by Bureau of Meteorology (BOM),[19] which uses 14 regions, so the boundaries of the two systems do not coincide. In some of the regions, the BOM designates the forecast area regions with a finer level of detail using points of the compass. Regions numbered 8 to 14 are usually known as forecast areas in the South West Land Division; coastal zones for sea forecasts are dealt with in the coastal regions of Western Australia.

BOM overlap areas RDCA overlap areas Notes
01 Kimberley Kimberley South East Kimberley in BOM "NE Interior" close fit
02 Pilbara Pilbara BOM North Interior in RDCA "East Pilbara"
03 Gascoyne Gascoyne BOM South and East Gascoyne in RDCA "Mid West"
04 Goldfields Goldfields-Esperance
05 Eucla Goldfields-Esperance
06 Northern Interior
07 Southern Interior Mid West
08 Central West Perth, Peel
09 Lower West South West
10 South West Great Southern
11 South Coastal Goldfields-Esperance
11 South East Coastal Goldfields-Esperance
13 Great Southern Great Southern
14 Central Wheat Belt Wheatbelt

South West Western Australia Fire Weather Forecast AreasEdit

The South West Land Division has 23 fire districts.[20]

Political regionsEdit

Under Australia's three-tiered system of government, Western Australia has four political regional schemes:

Federal Divisions of the Australian House of Representatives
State Electoral Districts for the Western Australian Legislative Assembly
Electoral Regions for the Western Australian Legislative Council
Local government Local government areas

State government departmental regionsEdit

Many government departments maintain systems of regional and district breakdowns of the state for their own internal purposes.

Department of Education[21]
  • Goldfields
  • Kimberley
  • Midwest
  • North Metro
  • Pilbara
  • South Metro
  • Southwest
  • Wheatbelt
Department of Agriculture and Food[22]
  • Northern Agricultural Region
  • Rangelands Region
  • Southern Agricultural Region
  • Central Agricultural Region
  • South West Agricultural
Main Roads Western Australia[23]
  • Kimberley
  • Pilbara
  • Mid-West-Gascoyne
  • Goldfields-Esperance
  • Wheatbelt
  • Metropolitan
  • Great Southern
  • South-West
Department of Water[24]
  • Kimberley
  • Pilbara
  • Mid West Gascoyne
  • Goldfields
  • Swan-Avon
  • Kwinana Peel
  • South West
  • South Coast
Department of Fisheries[25]

Fisheries tends to separate the state into four main regions for the purpose of regulating recreational fishing:

  • North Coast - Pilbara-Kimberley
  • Gascoyne Coast
  • West Coast
  • South Coast.
Department of Mines and Petroleum

The Department produces statistical data based on the Regional Development Commissions Act regionalisation schema

Since the creation of the Department of Industry and Resources some rationalisation of mines administration has occurred, however the mineral fields and boundaries remain the same as when established.[26]

Department of Planning / Western Australian Planning Commission

There are three regions with regional planning schemes, covering only a small part of the state:[27]

  • Metropolitan Region Scheme (Perth)
  • Peel Region Scheme
  • Greater Bunbury Region Scheme
Department of Fire and Emergency Services[28]
  • Kimberley
  • Pilbara
  • Mid West Gascoyne
  • Goldfields
  • Great Southern
  • Kwinana Peel
  • South West
  • Lower South West
  • Metropolitan

Natural and land managementEdit

See also Category:Biogeography of Western Australia

There are a number of regionalisations that attempt to provide a regionalisation based on natural features. The best known of these are the Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation for Australia (IBRA) regions, and the World Wildlife Fund's Ecoregions in Australia, and the "natural regions" of John Stanley Beard, all of which are based on biogeography. Other natural regionalisations included the drainage basins and catchments of river systems, and highly specialised regionalisations dealing with such matters as geology and soil systems.

Administrative regionalisations include Landcare Districts and the Department of Agriculture's "Land-use Zones". However the Department of Agriculture publications - Technical Bulletins[29] - usually titled An inventory and condition report/survey... of a particular region are very specifically focused upon land systems that are based on natural features.

Land tenureEdit

Western Australia is divided into approximately 90 land districts for cadastral purposes. There are five land divisions in Western Australia, as specified in Schedule 1 of the Land Administration Act 1997.

  • Eastern Land Division
  • Eucla Land Division
  • Kimberley Land Division
  • North-West Land Division
  • South-West Land Division

Wine regionsEdit

Western Australia covers the western third of the continent, although the winemaking regions are almost entirely situated in the south-western tip of the state. It has nine regions, and five nominated subregions for wine under the geographical indications legislation as determined by the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation.[30][31][32]

Wine regions include:[33]

Coastal regionsEdit

Western Australia has the longest coastline of any state in Australia, at 10,194 km.[34] The regions can be determined by the underlying geology, and in the case of the Bureau of Meteorology - features such as points and capes are useful indicators of coastal water forecasts.[35]

Landgate publishes touring maps that include coastal zones including:

  • Batavia Coast (incorporating the area of Dongara, Geraldton, and Kalbarri)[36]
  • Gascoyne Coast (Carnarvon, Coral Bay, Denham, Exmouth and the Coral Coast)
  • Coral Coast (at the northern end of the Gascoyne Coast)
  • Turquoise Coast north of sunset Coast and south of Batavia coast
  • Sunset Coast (Perth Metropolitan beachside suburbs from Cottesloe to Yanchep)

Census and Australian Bureau of StatisticsEdit

For the purposes of statistical geography, the Australian Bureau of Statistics uses the Australian Standard Geographical Classification, a hierarchical regionalisation that divides Western Australia into statistical divisions, then statistical subdivisions, statistical local areas, and finally, census collection districts.

Statistical divisions include:[37]

  • SD 505 - Perth
  • SD 510 - South West
  • SD 515 - Lower Great Southern
  • SD 520 - Upper Great Southern
  • SD 525 - Midlands
  • SD 530 - South Eastern
  • SD 535 - Central
  • SD 540 - Pilbara
  • SD 545 - Kimberley

The ABS produces regional profiles for the nine ABS statistical divisions, and the ten Development Commission[clarification needed] regions.

Cross-regional terminologyEdit

In some cases, regions have been grouped into larger areas, to describe a larger area in a single term:

  • Arid Western Australia tends to be synonymous with the Eremaean province biological region relating to plants and dry conditions
  • Remote Western Australia – also synonymous with Outback Western Australia – is determined by the distance and separation from the more heavily populated south west region surrounding Perth and its adjacent hinterland, and the subsequent scattered and low density populated areas towards the central east of Western Australia.
  • North West Australia similarly crosses the usual regional definitions to designate an area.
  • Southwest Australia may also ignore usual regional definitions.
  • Nullarbor – a term with multiple meanings – covers between south east Western Australia, and far west South Australia.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Regional Development Commissions Act 1993". State Law Publisher, Government of Western Australia. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
  2. ^ "Gascoyne". Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development. Archived from the original on 18 June 2020. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  3. ^ "Goldfields–Esperance". Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development. Archived from the original on 18 June 2020. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  4. ^ "Great Southern". Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development. Archived from the original on 18 June 2020. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  5. ^ "Kimberley". Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development. Archived from the original on 18 June 2020. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  6. ^ "Mid West". Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development. Archived from the original on 18 June 2020. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  7. ^ "Peel". Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development. Archived from the original on 18 June 2020. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  8. ^ "Pilbara". Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development. Archived from the original on 18 June 2020. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  9. ^ "South West". Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development. Archived from the original on 18 June 2020. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  10. ^ "Wheatbelt". Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development. Archived from the original on 18 June 2020. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  11. ^ "New COVID-19 restrictions on travel within WA as big queues form on WA/SA border ahead of closure - ABC News". 24 March 2020. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  12. ^ "WA drivers confronted by army checkpoints". 7News. 1 April 2020. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
  13. ^ "Coronavirus in Australia: Army called in to help enforce strict new quarantine rules". 7News. 28 March 2020. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
  14. ^ a b "Remote Aboriginal Communities (COVID-19)". Department of Communities. Retrieved 17 May 2020.
  15. ^ "COVID-19 coronavirus: Regional travel restrictions". Government of Western Australia. 15 May 2020. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
  16. ^ "COVID-19 coronavirus: WA Roadmap". Government of Western Australia. 14 May 2020. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
  17. ^ "COVID-19 coronavirus: Regional travel restrictions". Government of Western Australia. 5 June 2020. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  18. ^ a b Laschon, Eliza (31 January 2021). "COVID lockdown announced for Perth and South West after quarantine hotel worker tests positive". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  19. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 March 2008. Retrieved 1 March 2008.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) - noting the changes in 2012 -
  20. ^ South West Western Australia Fire Weather Forecast Areas
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^ (1981) Map of Western Australia showing Administrative Divisions and Principal mines and operators
  27. ^ Department of Planning; Western Australian Planning Commission (22 January 2013). "Region and local planning schemes". Government of Western Australia. Archived from the original on 9 April 2013. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^ T. Stevenson "The Sotheby's Wine Encyclopedia" pg 589 Dorling Kindersley 2005 ISBN 0-7566-1324-8
  31. ^ Australian Wine and Brandy corporation - Western Australia Archived 22 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  32. ^, The Oxford Companion to Wine pg 765 Western Australia Archived 26 March 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  33. ^ "Western Australia's Wine Regions". Western Australia. Archived from the original on 27 November 2010. Retrieved 25 November 2010.
  34. ^ Short, Andrew D (2005)Beaches of the Western Australian Coast: Eucla to Roeback Bay ISBN 0-9586504-3-8. page 1
  35. ^ Western Australian Forecast Areas Map Archived 2 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  36. ^ "'StreetSmart Touring Map - Batavia Coast Western Australia ISBN 0-7309-2935-3
  37. ^ "1216.0 - Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC), 2001". Australian Bureasu of Statistics. Retrieved 17 October 2011.

External linksEdit

Further readingEdit

  • Regions Western Australia. Perth, W.A. : Dept. of Commerce and Trade. Issue 1 (Mar./June 1998)-issue 11 (February 2002)
  • Regional futures: challenges and opportunities for Western Australia's regions: a discussion paper prepared by the Regional Development Council and the Department of Commerce and Trade. Perth, W.A. : The Council, Rev. June 1996.
  • Western Australia: a statistical snapshot of the regions prepared by the Department of Commerce and Trade for the Regional Development Council. Perth: The Department., 1995.
  • Western Australia tomorrow: population projections for the statistical divisions, planning regions and local government areas of Western Australia. Perth, W.A. : Western Australian Planning Commission, 2000. Population report (Western Australian Planning Commission) ; no. 4. ISBN 0-7309-9222-5


  • Streetsmart Travellers Atlas of Western Australia (2006) Department of Land Information and West Australian Newspapers,9th ed. ISBN 1-921048-13-1
  • Quality Publishing Australia.(2007) Roads & tracks Western Australia: campsites directory, roads and tracks, all in one Jolimont, W.A.,Quality Publishing Australia, 5th ed ISBN 1-876723-35-1
  • UBD Western Australia country road atlas (2005) Macquarie Park, N.S.W.UBD, a division of Universal Publishers, 11th ed ISBN 0-7319-1587-9