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Project 1.6

Future-proofing a small local government authority against the impacts of the mining boom and bust cycle (Completed)

Project 1.6 Fact Sheet  

Research Program

Data Integration, Forecasting and Scale

Project Leaders

Associate Professor Fiona Haslam McKenzie

Project ID



The Coolgardie locality was the site of the first large-scale goldrush in the late C19 and for a time, 700 mining companies were based in Coolgardie. By WW1 the town was in decline and since then, depending upon the price of gold and later, nickel, the community’s fortunes have see-sawed.  In the 1960s, large deposits of nickel prompted another boom, prompting the establishment of Kambalda, (85 kms from Coolgardie) in the same local government area. Both towns are relatively small, but their communities are well established and there is strong commitment to sustainable longevity despite ageing infrastructure and neoliberal economic principles that promote self-determination.

The Shire has faced near-bankruptcy, most recently during the global financial crisis in 2008 and after Western Mining Corporation exited from Coolgardie, leaving considerable and expensive legacy liabilities. The Shire is therefore mindful to invest in a diversity of initiatives to bolster long-term viability and future proof against the vagaries of international market conditions.

Cognisant of the pressure on local governments to find own-source revenue over and above rate revenue, and the need to build a corpus of funds to establish a future fund to underwrite the continuing operational expenses and long-term sustainability of its communities, the Shire has embarked on an ambitious and bold economic plan. This plan includes the application of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) principles. Taking advantage of buoyant global markets across a range of resources, including battery minerals, to either directly provide services to mining companies using Shire assets or facilitate relationships between mining companies and local organisations, the Shire is driving revenue-generating initiatives, not all of which are tied to the mining industry. 

Project Partners

Shire of Coolgardie, Australian Venture Consultants Pty Ltd


7 months