The Geographe catchment is a mix of industrial, urban, rural and environmental land uses. The towns vary in size with the major urban centre being Busselton and growing townsites of Capel, Dalyellup and Dunsborough. The majority of the catchment’s population resides in the Shire of Busselton and Capel and as such these local government areas will be used to describe the population dynamics of the catchment.
City of Busselton
The population in the City of Busselton has increased across all age groups (WAPC, 2009). The Shire of Busselton has two urban centres, Busselton and Dunsborough with Busselton being WA’s sixth largest centre (WAPC, 2009). The large majority of the City’s population currently reside in Busselton compared to Dunsborough.
Industries within the City include viticulture, dairy and beef, cattle, sheep, mining, tourism, timber, fishing and various light industries. Creative industries are also becoming increasingly popular in the area (SWDC, 2014).
The City is one of the most popular holiday destinations in rural Western Australia offering excellent swimming beaches, boating, fishing and surf breaks (in the adjoining Cape to Cape Catchment region).
Shire of Capel
The Shire of Capel has had the strongest population growth between 1996 and 2007 in the South-West region, with the growth spread relatively evenly across all age groups. The 55 years + age group had a slightly higher growth than the rest of the population. The Shire of Capel is strongly connected with Bunbury given that 59% of the Shire’s population reside in the Bunbury urban area (WAPC, 2009) being located within Dalyellup, Gelorup and Stratham. Most of the employment growth experienced by the Shire of Capel is taking place around the urbanised centre of Bunbury. These factors would suggest that the Capel shire’s population growth is linked in with sea change. While the lifestyle aspects of the area may attract people to Capel, the larger centres of Bunbury and Busselton provide the employment and services (WAPC, 2009).
In this Bunbury urban fringe area of the catchment, the population is relatively younger than in the rest of the Capel Shire. This could indicate that the employment opportunities and service found in Bunbury are attracting younger people and families to the area from either outside Capel and/or the rest of the local government area (WAPC, 2009).
Other significant towns within the Shire include the beachside estate of Peppermint Grove Beach and the rural town of Boyanup. Agricultural activities across the Shire include dairy, beef, horticulture and viticulture. Mineral sands mining are also a significant industry within the Shire.
- ABS 2011 Community Profile Statistic.s Accessed online: http://www.censusdata.abs.gov.au/census_services/getproduct/census/2011/communityprofile/LGA51260?opendocument&navpos=230
- WAPC 2012 Western Australia Tomorrow Population Report No. 7, 2006 to 2026
- WAPC South-west framework supplement 2: South West Region profile (2009)
- WAPC South-west framework (2009)