Livelihoods of the Capes

Major industries in the Capes catchments areas include dairy and beef cattle, viticulture and wine production, tourism, forestry and fishing. The viticulture industry has experienced rapid growth during the last fifteen years and tourism has also grown significantly.

Economic Growth (WAPC 2014)

The Leeuwin–Naturaliste sub-region (of which the Capes catchments area is a small part) is renowned for its lifestyle, landscape and amenity as a key tourist destination. This is reflected in the number of people employed in the ‘accommodation and food services’ and ‘retail’ which combined represents 22 per cent of the total workforce. These two sectors have seen growth of seven per cent over the last five years.

The ‘mining’ sector in the Leeuwin-Naturaliste sub-region has experienced the highest growth in the South-West at 52 per cent over the last five years. Given there is not currently any mining operation in this sub-region, this growth can be attributed to an increase of fly-in fly-out workers, with this service offered from Busselton airport; and also workers traveling to other sub-regions.

The majority of employment sectors in the Leeuwin-Naturaliste sub-region has grown over the last five years. The larger growth sectors as defined by the ABS include ‘electricity, gas, water and waste services’ and ‘information media and telecommunications’ at 30 per cent; ‘education and training’ at 27 per cent; ‘administration and support services’ at 24 per cent; and ‘public administration and safety’ and ‘professional, scientific and technical services’ at 21 per cent. This is likely attributed to the population and the requirement for an increase in services particularly from the public sector.

In contrast, the number of people working in the ‘agricultural’ sector has decreased by 14 per cent over the last five years. This can be attributed to a number of factors including restructuring of industries such as dairy, viticulture and fruit orchards, increases in the scale of farm businesses by leasing other farmland and the retirement of older farmers and farmers exiting the industry. Other sectors that declined over the last five years include ‘financial and insurance services’ and ‘rental, hiring and real estate services’. This can be attributed to the economic downturn and impact on the housing sector in particular.