Douglas Shire is in the unique position of having two World Heritage areas at its doorstep; a favourite international and domestic adventure and eco tourist destination where the tropical rainforest meets the Coral Sea. Approximately 85% of the Douglas region is included in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area (WTWHA), National Park and the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (GBRWHA).

The Shire is serviced from the south by the Captain Cook Highway which takes in one of Australia’s most beautiful scenic drives. Following the coastal route north from Port Douglas/ Mossman the road is sealed all the way to Cape Tribulation. From Cape Tribulation there is connectivity to Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Community and Cooktown via the acclaimed 4WD Bloomfield track. Alternatively the Mulligan Highway which can be accessed by the Mossman – Mt Molloy Road is a sealed road all the way north to Cooktown and Laura and is the gateway to the greater Cape York Peninsula via the Peninsular Development Road.

The Shire covers a total area of approximately 2 400 square kilometres is comprised of rural and growing urban areas. Agricultural lands are primarily utilised for sugar cane production, with some cattle grazing and tropical fruit growing.

The region hosts a population of approximately 1245 people with most living in the townships of Mossman and Port Douglas; and within smaller communities such as Cooya Beach, Daintree Village, Newell, Wangetti, Wonga and Cow Bay north of the Daintree River.

The key employment sector in the Douglas region is based around food and accommodation services which cater to the tourism industry. Employment in areas such as construction, transport, retail, health care, agriculture and education representing other significant economic drivers within the region.

In 2012/13 the ratio of jobs to employed residents was **0.85 this means that there were fewer jobs then there were employed residents. In 2011 a total of *4 290 (80.9%) residents lived and worked within the region. *413 (7.8%) lived within Douglas but travelled outside the area for work; and a total of *600 (11.3%) residents did not indicate their regular work location. The jobs to residents ratio for Douglas Shire Council in 2020/21 was 0.97, meaning that there were less jobs than resident workers. Arts and Recreation Services had the highest ratio (1.30), while the lowest ratio was found in Mining (0.14)

The goal of economic development is to often maximise the employment opportunities locally leading to a more socially and environmentally sustainable community.

[Click Here for Douglas Economic Data]

Supporting Economic Development

Council is committed to supporting the growth, sustainability and diversification of businesses and industries within the Douglas region.

View Council’s Economic Development Strategy 2021 – 2024