The South West Regional Economic Development (RED) Region is located in south-west Queensland, between 400 and 600 kilometres south-west of the Brisbane CBD. The South West RED Region is bounded by Barcoo Shire, the Longreach Regional Council area, the Blackall-Tambo Regional Council area and the Central Highlands Regional Council area in the north, Banana Shire, the Western Downs Regional Council area and the Goondiwindi Regional Council area in the east, the New South Wales border in the south, and the South Australian border in the west.
The South West RED Region encompasses six local government areas: Balonne Shire, Bulloo Shire, the Maranoa Regional Council area, Murweh Shire, Paroo Shire and Quilpie Shire.
The South West RED Region is predominantly rural, with townships at Charleville, Roma and St George. Smaller townships include Amby, Augathella, Bollon, Cunnamulla, Dirranbandi, Eulo, Hebel, Injune, Jackson, Mitchell, Morven, Mungallala, Mungindi, Quilpie, Surat, Thallon, Thargomindah, Wallumbilla, Wyandra, Yowah and Yuleba. The Region encompasses a total land area of nearly 320,000 square kilometres. Rural land is used largely for agriculture, particularly sheep and cattle grazing and cotton and wheat growing, with horticulture (fruit and vegetable growing), timber production, oil and opal mining and gas production also being important industries.
The original inhabitants of the South West RED Region were the Baakandji, Bidjara, Budjiti, Bunthamurra, Gunggari, Kamilaroi, Kulilli, Mandandanji and Mandgany Aboriginal people.
European settlement dates from the 1840s, with land used mainly for sheep and cattle grazing. Growth took place during the late 1800s when numerous small townships were established, aided by the opening of the western railway line in the 1880s and the establishment of gas and opal mining. Expansion continued during the early 1900s. The most significant development took place in the post-war years, The population generally declined from the late 1960s, with an increase in population between 2006 and 2011, largely due to expansion in coal seam gas exploration and mining.
Major features of the South West RED Region include numerous National Parks (Alton, Carnarvon, Chesterton Range, Culgoa Floodplain, Currawinya, Expedition, Hell Hole Gorge, Idalia, Lake Bindegolly, Mariala, Narkoola, Thrushton and Tregole), Morven Conservation Park, Noccundra Waterhole, Beardmore Dam (Lake Kajarabie), Lake Bindegolly, Lake Dartmouth, Lake Numalla, Lake Wyara, Allan Tannock Weir, Jack Taylor Weir, Judds Lagoon, the Balonne River, the Bulloo River, the Warrego River, the Charleville township, the Roma township, the St George township, Charleville Cosmos Centre and Observatory, Charleville Bilby Experience, Sandytown River Cruises, The Unique Egg, Burke and Wills “Dig” Tree, The Big Rig, Cobb & Co Changing Station, Riversands Wines, Romavilla Winery, Mitchell Great Artesian Spa, Yowah Artesian Bore Baths, Artesian Mud Baths, Roma Saleyards, TAFE Queensland South West (Roma Campus), Cunnamulla Hospital, Charleville Hospital, Roma Hospital, St George Hospital, Charleville Royal Flying Doctor Service Base, Booringa Heritage Museum, Charleville Historic House Museum, Eromanga Natural History Museum, Morven Historical Museum, PowerHouse Museum Wyandra, St George Heritage Centre, Charleville Cultural Centre, Eulo Belle Arts and Opal Centre, Cunnamulla Fella Centre (including Art Gallery, Artesian Time Tunnel and Museum), Quilpie Visitor Information Centre Museum & Gallery, Thargomindah Hydro Power Plant, Ballera Gas Centre, Eromanga Basin (oil and gas field), Jackson Oil Field, Yowah opal fields, various mines and numerous state forests.
The South West RED Region is served by the Balonne Highway, the Barwon Highway, the Carnarvon Highway, the Castlereagh Highway, the Landsborough Highway, the Mitchell Highway, the Moonie Highway, the Warrego Highway, Adventure Way, the Westlander train and Roma Airport.
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