Thousands of new jobs could be created in the Kimberley by attracting new defence, aquaculture, resources and energy projects, according to an economic report released last week.

The Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre’s future industries report found defence, caged aquaculture, non-iron ore mining, oil and gas extraction, and hydro-electricity projects in the Kimberley could pump $1.2 billion into the State economy, and create 2700 new jobs within five years.

BCEC Director Alan Duncan said it was important for WA to look beyond mining to reduce economic volatility.

“By identifying new sectors that harness the State’s natural strengths, a more diverse WA economy could add 163,000 new jobs in the next five years, with more than 48,000 spread across WA’s regions,” he said.

“It is critical to develop a broader industrial and regional strategy that would enable the State to capture a wider diversity of opportunities, support sustained and inclusive growth, and develop a more resilient State economy.

“Many of WA’s regions will have the potential — and, in some cases, the need — to expand both specialist and general medical services, childcare and education services, and residential aged care to support growing populations, both in Perth and regional WA.”

East Kimberley Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Jill Williams said the region already had plenty of projects in the pipeline, but infrastructure was needed to unlock its potential.

“Our main barrier, which we have been trying to get traction with State and Federal Governments, is logistics,” she said.

“We don’t need to attract these projects here. They are here, they just need unlocking

“Private enterprise is working hard behind the scenes attracting investors, coming up with ideas and being innovative about new industries, but we can’t unlock them due to a lack of roads, ports and airports.”

Image: Getty Images.