The Northern Agriculture Region (NAR) encompasses an area of approximately 70,000 km2 and supports a population of around 64,000 people (~ 60% of whom reside in the City of Greater Geraldton).
Many local goverment authorities (LGAs) that are dependent on agriculture are declining in population, while the coastal areas are experiencing growth. ABS data (2011) indicates that the coastal local government authorities (LGAs) experience on average a growth rate of 1.1% per year compared to inland LGAs which have an average annual average growth rate of just 0.3%.
Population growth is a major driver of environmental change at the local, state and national level. As local populations increase, the demand for resources such as water, energy, food and raw materials also increase, as well as the need for space and infrastructure. This results in a direct impact on the environment and local landscape, as well as flow-on effects in other regions and even countries.
Although the NAR is not a heavily populated region, human activity in the NAR has an impact on the environment due to the consumption of natural resources including water, energy, food, as well as activities associated with agriculture, mining and pastoralism. This level of impact will increase as growth occurs throughout the region.
WA Tomorrow population projections for the NAR suggest that by 2026 the population will increase to over 82,000 people (WAPC, 2012).