About my region – Greater Brisbane Queensland

​​​About my region is a series of individual profiles of the agricultural, forestry and fisheries industries in your region. This regional profile presents an overview of the agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors in the Greater Brisbane region and the recent Queensland financial performance of the broadacre, beef, grains, dairy, and vegetable industries.

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Regional overview

The Greater Brisbane region comprises eight local government areas. It includes the city of Brisbane and the regional centres of Caboolture and Ipswich. The region covers a total area of around 15,826 square kilometres or 0.91 per cent of Queensland’s total area and is home to approximately 2,233,000 people (ABS 2011).

Agricultural land in the Greater Brisbane region occupies 9,600 square kilometres, or 61 per cent of the region. Areas classified as conservation and natural environments (nature conservation, protected areas and minimal use) occupy 2,741 square kilometres, or 17 per cent of the region. The most common land use by area is grazing modified pastures, which occupies 5,150 square kilometres or 33 per cent of the Greater Brisbane region.

Broad land use in the Greater Brisbane region
Shows a map of broad land use in the Gold Coast region. It includes a legend which shows the broad land use categories— nature conservation, protected areas and minimal use; grazing native vegetation; production forestry; grazing modified pastures; plantation forestry; cropping; horticulture; intensive uses and water. This map is discussed in the above paragraph.
Source: Land use of Australia 2010–2011 ABARES 2016

Employment

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data from the May 2017 Labour Force Survey indicate that around 1.2 million people were employed in the Greater Brisbane region. The region accounts for 50 per cent of total employment in Queensland and 15 per cent of all people employed in the Queensland agriculture, forestry and fishing sector.

Health care and social assistance was the largest employment sector with 152,000 people, followed by retail trade with 115,300 people and construction with 110,000 people. Other important employment sectors in the region were, professional, scientific and technical services, manufacturing, and public administration and safety. The agriculture, forestry and fishing sector employed 8,000 people, representing less than 1 per cent of the region's workforce.

Employment profile, Greater Brisbane region, May 2017
Shows the number of people employed in the Gold Coast region by industry in thousands. The figure is discussed in the previous two paragraphs.
Note: Annual average of the preceding 4 quarters
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, cat. no. 6291.0, Labour Force, Australia 2017

Agricultural sector

Value of agricultural production

In 2015–16, the gross value of agricultural production in the Greater Brisbane region was $951 million, which was 7 per cent of the total gross value of agricultural production in Queensland ($13.2 billion).

The Greater Brisbane region has a diverse agricultural sector. The most important commodities in the Greater Brisbane region based on the gross value of agricultural production were poultry ($268 million), followed by cattle and calves ($129 million) and by strawberries ($84 million). These commodities together contributed 51 per cent of the total value of agricultural production in the region. In 2015–16  the Greater Brisbane region accounted for around 90 per cent of the total value of Queensland's carrots production.

Value of agricultural production, Greater Brisbane region, 2015–16
Shows the gross value of agricultural production in the region in millions of dollars. The figure is discussed in the previous three paragraphs.

Note: The graph shows only data published by the ABS. Some values were not published by the ABS to ensure confidentiality.
The "Other commodities" category includes the total value of commodities not published as well as those with small values.
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, cat. no. 7503.0, Value of agricultural commodities produced, Australia 2017

Number and type of farms

ABS data indicate that in 2014–15 there were 2,051 farms in the Greater Brisbane region with an estimated value of agricultural operations of $5,000 or more. The region contains 9 per cent of all farm businesses in Queensland.

Number of farms, by industry classification, Greater Brisbane region, 2014–15
Industry classificationGreater Brisbane region​Queensland
Number of farms% of RegionNumber of farmsContribution of region to state total %

Beef Cattle Farming (Specialised)

1,205

58.8

12,172

9.9

Vegetable Growing (Outdoors)1617.976621.0
Dairy Cattle Farming1246.057221.7
Horse Farming1165.668316.9
Other Fruit and Tree Nut Growing653.21,0766.1
Poultry Farming (Meat)653.212054.1
Grain-Sheep or Grain-Beef Cattle Farming512.51,0335.0
Berry Fruit Growing502.49651.6
Other Crop Growing nec371.837110.1
Other1778.66,1462.9

Total agriculture

2,051

100

23,035

8.9

Note: Estimated value of agricultural operations $5,000 or more.
Industries that constitute less than 1 per cent of the region's industry are not shown. nec Not elsewhere classified
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016

Farms in the table above are classified according to the activities that generate most of their value of production. Beef cattle farms (1,205 farms) were the most common, accounting for 59 per cent of all farms in the Greater Brisbane region, and 10 per cent of all beef farms in Queensland.

Estimated value of agricultural operations (EVAO) is a measure of the value of production from farms and a measure of their business size. Around 57 per cent of farms in the Greater Brisbane region had an EVAO of less than $50,000. These farms accounted for only 4 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in 2014–15. In comparison, 7 per cent of farms in the region had an EVAO of more than $1 million and accounted for an estimated 65 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in the Greater Brisbane region in 2014–15.

Distribution of farms by estimated value of agricultural operations, Greater Brisbane region, 2014–15
Shows share of farms and share of value of agricultural operations in the Gold Coast region. The figure is discussed in the previous paragraph.
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016

Farm financial performance

Estimates of financial performance are available for all broadacre, beef, grains, diary, and vegetable farms in Queensland.

Fisheries sector

The Greater Brisbane area is a key commercial fishing area in Queensland. The coastal area contains Moreton Bay, Moreton Island, North and South Stradbroke Island. The waters of Moreton Bay are within the Queensland Moreton Bay Marine Park. The marine park has five types of zones that allow different types of use and afford various levels of protection. Wild-caught species in the area include prawns (greasyback, banana and school prawns), a principal catch of the River and Inshore Beam Trawl Fishery, which is a subsector of the Queensland East Coast Trawl fishery. Blue swimmer crabs are also caught in the area—Moreton Bay is a high catch and effort region for this species. Common finfish species targeted by commercial fishers in the area are dusky and bartail flathead. The coastal areas in the vicinity of Moreton Bay are also popular for recreational fishing. The key recreational finfish species targeted are flathead, crabs, prawns and squid.

The Brisbane and Moreton area produced 7.3 tonnes of aquaculture production in 2014–15 utilising a pond area of 4 hectares. The aquaculture industry in the area employed approximately 36.3 persons in 2014–15 (Heidenreich 2015). Aquaculture species produced in the Moreton area are prawns and Sydney rock oysters.

Although the participation rate (14 per cent) of Greater Brisbane region residents in recreational fishing is much lower than in regional centres, the large population means that 37 per cent of Queensland fishers live in this region (Taylor et al 2012). Greater Brisbane residents mostly fish in south-eastern Queensland, with equal amounts of fishing effort in estuarine and coastal waters. More days are spent fishing from the shore than from boats. The most numerous species harvested by Brisbane residents were sand whiting, trumpeter whiting, yellowfin bream, tailor, dusky flathead, blue swimmer crab and mud crab. The results of the 2010 statewide recreational fishing survey revealed that Brisbane region residents caught over 95 per cent of the Queensland harvest of blue swimmer crab and about half the harvest of whiting, tailor, snapper and pearl perch.

In 2014–15 the total gross value of Queensland's fisheries production was $291.1 million, an increase of 4 per cent ($10.8 million) from 2013-14. Queensland contributed 11 per cent of the total value of Australian fisheries production in 2014–15. In value terms, the wild-catch sector accounted for 61 per cent ($177.1 million) of the state's total production and the aquaculture sector accounted for the remaining 39 per cent ($114.1 million).

Queensland's wild-catch fisheries sector provides a range of fisheries products. The highest contribution being from prawns, which account for 35 per cent of the total value of wild-catch fisheries production with a value of $62.8 million, followed by crabs (17 per cent; $29.5 million) and coral trout (14 per cent; $24.6 million). Over the last decade the real value of Queensland's wild-caught fisheries products has reduced by 32 per cent. Prawns and shark, showed the largest decline in the value of production over the past decade, reducing by 41 per cent and 86 per cent respectively. Competition from imported prawns in the domestic market has also placed significant downward pressure on prices in recent years.

The value of Queensland's aquaculture production has increased by 28 per cent in 2014–15 to $114.1 million. Prawn and barramundi farming account for the largest share of production by value, with prawns accounting for 71 per cent, and $81.2 million of production, followed by barramundi (24 per cent; $27.5 million).

Commonwealth fisheries active in the waters off the east coast of Queensland include the Commonwealth Eastern Tuna and Billfish fishery (mainly supplying export markets with tuna) and the Coral Sea Fishery. The final proposed Commonwealth Coral Sea Marine Reserves network released on 14 June 2012 is estimated to displace $4.0 million of gross value of production from these fisheries when the zoning comes into effect.

In 2014–15, Queensland's fisheries product exports were valued at $160 million. The main export products include live and fresh, chilled or frozen fish, prawns and rocklobster. Hong Kong, Japan and the United States are the major destinations for Queensland fisheries exports, accounting for 48 per cent, 13 per cent and 9 per cent of the total value of exports in 2013–14, respectively. Other major export destinations include Vietnam (9 per cent), Malaysia (3 per cent) and Taiwan (3 per cent).

Recreational fishing is popular in Queensland. The results of the 2013–14 state wide and regional recreational fishing survey report that recreational fishing continues to be a popular activity; however the participation rate has dropped from 17 per cent in 2010 to 15 per cent in 2013. In the 12 months prior to November 2013 approximately 700,000 Queenslanders went recreational fishing (QDAFF 2015). Total expenditure in the sector is estimated to be between $350 million and $420 million in 2008–09 (DEEDI 2009). The tropical waters of Queensland are also a key area for tourism, attracting anglers from around the world and Australia. Popular target species include crabs, prawns and a range of finfish species including cods and groupers, coral trout, redthroat emperor, rosy snapper, and mackerel. For freshwater activity some key species caught include barramundi, eels, silver perch, and yabby and blueclaw crayfish.

Forestry sector

In 2010–11, the most recent year for which regional data are available, the total plantation area in the Greater Brisbane region was approximately 27,700 hectares, comprised of approximately 3,500 hectares of hardwood plantations, 23,900 hectares of softwood plantations and 300 hectares of other plantation. The main hardwood species planted are Dunn's white gum (Eucalyptus dunnii) and flooded gum (E. grandis), and the main softwood species planted is hoop pine (Araucaria cunninghamii).

In 2011, there were approximately 690,000 hectares of native forests in the Greater Brisbane region, comprised mainly of Eucalypt medium open (287,000 hectares), Eucalypt medium woodland (102,100 hectares) and Rainforest (57,500 hectares) forest types. Approximately 436,600 hectares of the native forests are privately owned, 133,700 hectares are in nature conservation reserves and 57,600 hectares are multiple-use public forest available for timber production and. Major timber processing industries are located at Caboolture and Burpengary.

In 2013–14, the total plantation area in Queensland was approximately 233,500 hectares, comprised of approximately 41,600 hectares of hardwood plantations, 189,400 hectares of softwood plantations and 2,500 hectares of other plantations. The main hardwood species planted are Dunn's white gum (Eucalyptus dunnii), lemon–scented gum (Corymbia citriodora), shining gum (Eucalyptus nitens) and teak (Tectona grandis). The main softwood species planted are Caribbean pine (Pinus caribaea), hoop pine (Araucaria cunninghamii), slash pine (Pinus elliottii) and pine hybrids.

In 2014–15, the volume of native hardwood logs harvested was 259,000 cubic metres valued at $38 million. The volume of plantation hardwood logs harvested was 41,000 cubic metres valued at $2 million. The volume of softwood harvested, including native cypress pines, was 1.8 million cubic metres valued at $141 million.

Queensland's forest and wood product industry generated approximately $3 billion of sales and service income in 2013–14. The income was generated from the sale of wood products, such as structural wood and woodchips, estimated at approximately $2 billion. The remaining $1 billion was generated from the sale of paper and paper products.

In 2011, Queensland's forestry sector employed 12,845 workers (0.6 per cent of the total employed workforce) compared with 16,411 (0.9 per cent) in 2006. The number of people employed includes forestry support services and timber wholesaling.

Area of native forest, by tenure, Greater Brisbane region
Shows share of farms and share of value of agricultural operations in the Gold Coast region. The figure is discussed in the previous paragraph.
Source: ABARES Australia's State of the Forests Report 2013

References

ABS 2011, Census of Population and Housing, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra.

DEEDI 2009, Prospects for Queensland's primary industries 2009–10, Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, Brisbane, Queensland.

Heidenreich M 2015, Ross Lobegeiger report to farmers: Aquaculture production summary for Queensland 2014–15 (pdf 883.06kb), Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Brisbane, Queensland.

QDAF 2015, Statewide recreational Fishing Surveys, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Brisbane, Queensland.

Taylor, S, Webley, J & McInnes, K 2012, 2010 Statewide Recreational Fishing Survey, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Brisbane, Queensland.

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Last reviewed:
18 Aug 2017