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The various regions of Western Australia are determined by a number of systems that divide Western Australia into distinct geographic "regions" for a variety of purposes.

The most common system is the W.A. 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 regions

Regions of Western Australia
The nine Regional Development Commissions Act regions, and Perth
See also: Lands administrative divisions of Western Australia#Land divisions

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. 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.

The nine defined regions are:

Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) regions

The same region names as those used by the Regional Development Commissions Act (RDCA) are incorporated into the system used by BOM, 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 Coastal regions of Western Australia.

BOM
map
number
BOM
region
name
RDCA
region
name
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

Political regions

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

Federal Divisions of the Australian House of Representatives for election to 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

Natural and land management

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 - 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 tenure

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

Coastal regions

Western Australia has the longest coastline of any state in Australia, at 10,194 km. 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.

Landgate publishes touring maps that include coastal zones including:

  • Batavia Coast (incorporating the area of Dongara, Geraldton, and Kalbarri)
  • 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 Statistics

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:

  • 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 regions.

Cross-regional terminology

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.
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