Some small communities in WA say they are being 'left behind' by the mining boom.
At a time when the State Government is investing heavily to build stronger regional centres and encourage more people to live outside of Perth, not all rural areas are enjoying the benefits.
There has been rapid growth in the north but not everywhere else as new figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show the population of some of the towns in the Great Southern and Wheatbelt, dwindling.
The data reveals Kojonup, 250 kilometres south-east of Perth, is declining more quickly than any other major local government area in WA.
Of any municipality with at least 1,500 residents, Kojonup's annual population decline of 1.7 per cent between 2006 and 2011 was the biggest.
In that time, the farming community's population has dropped from 2,153 to 1,981.
It's a trend that has local authorities, including Kojonup shire president Jane Trethowan, concerned.
"We're trying to assess where the leak is in and what to do about it," she said.
"I suspect it's probably across the board; people retiring to the coast, maybe the family has moved away and they've followed them, or the pressure with boarding schools and education.
"It's a vast combination of everything."
Ms Trethowan says the contraction is yet to be reflected in the local economy but the shire is concerned it's only a matter of time unless the problem is remedied.
"That's why we're trying to address it now, before it exposes itself at that level," she said.
Chris Evans, who retired to the town, says it's a complex problem caused by multiple factors.
"A lot of farms have been sold to bluegums (forestry plantations) and that took population out and the flow-on effect would have come on in that time," he said.
"Then the decline of the sheep industry after the collapse of wool in '92, that's flowed right through.
"And, farms are much bigger. People have bought out their neighbours and they're using big machinery and you can run a much bigger cropping enterprise with less labour than you can with sheep."
'A lovely place'
The population decline hasn't shocked locals but they're perplexed as to why so few people have moved into the town.
Cynthia Harvey-Baker moved to Kojonup several years ago, after falling in love with it while driving from Perth to Albany.
"It's a gentle, quiet, kind and peaceful place to live and we have absolutely everything that we need, from our lovely main street to churches, a great country hospital, a doctor, a dentist, a butcher, a baker," she said.
"I can't understand it, it's such a good place, a great place to live.
"I now have this charming house and a lovely garden and I'm one block away from the main street, it's absolutely wonderful."
She says few people have moved to Kojonup since her arrival.
"Very, very few people, in fact, I could probably count them on the fingers of one hand," she said.
"It's quite a disturbing figure."
Mr Evans says it's a welcoming town with many good attributes.
"In years gone by they said there was a 'them and us' mentality but you talk to people at the bowling club and they say that's really gone now," he said.
"I don't know why more people don't want to live in Kojonup."
Not all parts of WA are experiencing population decline.
But, contraction was more of a trend in inland areas of the state's south.
While some shires in the region, including Plantagenet and Wagin, enjoyed modest growth, it was a different picture for many others.
The Shire of Kent saw its population contract by 2.5 per cent annually but its population is too low to be counted as a major area.
Lake Grace, Gnowangerup, Jerramungup and Corrigin all saw substantial falls, while major regional centres Katanning and Narrogin saw more modest drops.
Despite that, Katanning has set its sites on an ambitious proposal to triple its population in a little over a decade, as part of the State Government's 'SuperTown' program.
Katanning Shire President Richard Kowald sees plenty of hope for inland regional towns.
"The State Government wants growth to happen in regional centres, so hopefully with a combined effort that will happen," he said.
"With WA's population growing considerably, I think it's reasonable to expect the regional centres can grow as well.
"We're planning our growth on establishing new industries in and around the town."
It has already worked for another declining community in the state's Mid West.
Perenjori was once considered one of the fastest declining areas in the nation.
Between 1961 and 2006, the population fell at every census, dropping nearly 60 per cent overall, from 1,311 to 528, but now it's growing faster than most others.
From 2006 to 2011 it had an annual growth rate of 11.2 per cent, with the population surging back up to 905.
Mr Evans is hopeful something similar will happen in Kojonup.
"I think Kojonup is one of the strongest economic towns in the state," he said.
"Kojonup is a very strongly based town."
The town is working on improving services by recruiting new doctors and is hoping there will be a flow on effect from the set up of Katanning as a super town.