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 Capital region and the recent financial performance of the New South Wales broadacre, dairy, vegetable, and sugarcane industries.
The Capital Region of New South Wales is located in the south–east of the state from the southern tablelands, east around the ACT, to the far south coast. The region comprises the eight local government areas of Bega Valley, Eurobodalla, Goulburn Mulwaree, Hilltops, Queanbeyan-Palerang, Snowy-Monaro, Upper Lachlan Shire, Yass Valley, and small parts of Shoalhaven, Snowy Valleys, and Wingecarribee. The region covers a total area of around 51,895 square kilometres or 6.5 per cent of New South Wales and is home to approximately 207,800 people (ABS 2011).
Agricultural land in the Capital Region occupies 33,332 square kilometres, or 64 per cent of the region. Areas classified as conservation and natural environments (nature conservation, protected areas and minimal use) occupy 12,931 square kilometres, or 25 per cent of the region. The most common land use by area is grazing modified pastures, which occupies 25,177 square kilometres or 49 per cent of the Capital region.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data from the February 2017 Labour Force Survey indicate that around 105,000 people were employed in the Capital Region. The region accounts for 3 per cent of total employment in New South Wales and 8 per cent of all people employed in the New South Wales agriculture, forestry, and fishing sector.
Health care and social assistance was the largest employment sector with 14,300 people, followed by public administration and safety with 12,300 people, and construction with 10,400 people. Other important employment sectors in the region were retail trade, accommodation and food services, and professional, scientific and technical services. The agriculture, forestry, and fishing sector employed 6,100 people, representing 6 per cent of the region's workforce.
Value of agricultural production
In 2014–15, the gross value of agricultural production in the Capital Region was $842 million, which was 7 per cent of the total gross value of agricultural production in New South Wales of $12.1 billion. This is the most recent year for which ABS data are available.
The Capital Region has a diverse agricultural sector. The most important commodities in the region based on the gross value of agricultural production were cattle and calves ($201 million), followed by wool ($157 million), and sheep and lambs ($127 million). These commodities together contributed 58 per cent of the total value of agricultural production in the region. Additionally, in 2014–15 the Capital Region accounted for 43 per cent ($8 million) of the total value of the state's cherry production.
Number and type of farms
ABS data indicate that in 2014–15 there were 3,708 farms in the Capital Region with an estimated value of agricultural operations of $5,000 or more. The region contains 11 per cent of all farm businesses in New South Wales.
New South Wales
Number of farms
% of Region
Number of farms
Contribution of region to state total %
Beef Cattle Farming (Specialised)
Sheep Farming (Specialised)
Sheep-Beef Cattle Farming
Dairy Cattle Farming
Grain-Sheep or Grain-Beef Cattle Farming
Other Grain Growing
Other Crop Growing nec
Stone Fruit Growing
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
Farms in the table above are classified according to the activities that generate most of their value of production. Beef cattle farms (1,124 farms) were the most common, accounting for 30 per cent of all farms in the Capital Region, and 9 per cent of all beef farms in New South Wales.
Estimated value of agricultural operations (EVAO) is a measure of the value of production from farms and a measure of their business size. Around 58 per cent of farms in the Capital Region had an EVAO of less than $50,000. These farms accounted for only 9 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in 2014–15. In comparison, 5 per cent of farms in the region had an EVAO of more than $500,000 and accounted for an estimated 49 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in the Capital Region in 2014–15.
Farm financial performance
Estimates of financial performance are available for all broadacre, beef, sheep, grains, dairy, vegetable, and sugarcane farms in New South Wales.
The coast line of the Capital Region extends from the Kioloa State Forest, north of Batemans Bay, to the Victorian border. As such, the area has a number of key fishing ports, including Eden, Bermagui, and Batemans Bay. Eden is an important port for NSW and Commonwealth fisheries. In 2013–14, Commonwealth fisheries landed a total of 1,285 tonnes in Eden including 299 tonnes of flathead, 103 tonnes of blue grenadier, 102 tonnes of ling, 75 tonnes of gould's squid, and 62 tonnes of jackass morwong. A variety of tuna are also landed in Eden including southern bluefin, yellowfin, albacore, and bigeye tuna.
Another key port for NSW and Commonwealth fisheries is Bermagui. In 2013–14, Commonwealth fisheries landed around 520 tonnes of fisheries products in Bermagui, including 55 tonnes of southern bluefin tuna, 32 tonnes of yellowfin tuna, and 23 tonnes of albacore. The Clyde river estuary in the Batemans Bay region is a key aquaculture area for Sydney rock oyster. Batemans Bay is also a key regional commercial fishing area, with parts of the community employed in abalone diving, rocklobster trapping, and commercial finfish fisheries.
Sydney rock oyster is the principal aquaculture species grown in NSW, accounting for 57 per cent of the value of all aquaculture species grown in NSW, with a value of $35 million in 2014–15 (Trenaman et al 2015). The Capital Region is estimated to have produced around 1.8 million dozens of Sydney rock oysters in 2014–15, at a combined value of $12 million. The Clyde River, near Batemans Bay, is an important producing region of Sydney rock oysters, producing 9 per cent of total NSW production of this species. This production was valued at $3.2 million on a farmgate basis in 2014–15, and contributes significantly to regional employment. Other areas of Sydney rock oyster production in the region include Merimbula Lake ($2.8 million), Pambula River ($2 million), and Wagonga Inlet ($2.2 million) (Trenaman et al 2015).
In 2014–15 the gross value of New South Wales fisheries production was estimated to be around $147 million, increasing by 2 per cent ($2 million) from 2012314. New South Wales contributed 5 per cent of the total value of Australian fisheries production in 2014–15. In value terms, the wild-catch sector accounted for 59 per cent ($87 million) of the state's total production and the aquaculture sector accounted for the remaining 41 per cent ($61 million).
New South Wales wild-catch fisheries provide a range of fisheries products. In 2014–15, finfish species contributed 46 per cent of the wild-catch production, valued at $40 million. The main finfish species landed were sea mullet, with a gross value of production of $8.0 million, followed by black and yellowfin bream ($3.5 million), school whiting ($2.6 million), snapper ($1.7 million), and sand whiting ($1.6 million). Prawns contributed 22 per cent of the total value of wild-catch fisheries with a value of $19.3 million, with other important crustacean groups being eastern rocklobster (13 per cent; $11.4 million), and crabs (9 per cent; $7.6 million).
In 2014–15 the value of New South Wales aquaculture production is estimated to have increased by 14 per cent ($7.3 million) to $61 million. Oyster production makes the greatest contribution to New South Wales aquaculture production, accounting for 67 per cent of production by value, worth $40.6 million. Prawns ($5.1 million) and finfish aquaculture species, including silver perch ($3 million), trout ($2.8 million), and barramundi ($0.9 million) make up most of the remaining aquaculture production.
Commonwealth fisheries active in New South Wales include the Small Pelagic Fishery, the Eastern Tuna and Billfish fishery (mainly supplying export markets with tuna), and the Commonwealth trawl sector of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark fishery.
In 2014–15, New South Wales fisheries product exports were valued at $18.6 million. The main export products include live and fresh, chilled or frozen fish, rocklobster, and abalone. Japan and New Zealand, are the major destinations for New South Wales fisheries exports, accounting for 33 per cent and 15 per cent of the total value of exports in 2014–15, respectively. Other major export destinations include Taiwan (14 per cent), Vietnam (12 per cent), and Italy (5 per cent).
The New South Wales coast line is an important recreational fishing area, with a multitude of inlets and estuaries from which to fish (NSWDPI 2013). Being a tourism precinct, the region offers a number of recreational fishing opportunities, with the value of this activity to the regional economy likely to be significant. There are also a range of game fishing tournaments throughout the year, including in the Bermagui and Port Stephens area, targeting tuna and marlin species. New South Wales also contains a number of recreational only fishing areas, especially in the far south coast of New South Wales, a popular destination for both marine and freshwater recreational fishers. A large number of recreational fishers also fish in the Greater Sydney area, stretching from Newcastle to the Illawarra area, and comprising the city areas of Newcastle, Sydney, and Wollongong. Species commonly targeted in the area include yellowfin bream, dusky flathead, yellowtail, blue swimmer crab, squid, and southern calamari (Steffe & Murphy 2011).
In 2010–11, the most recent year for which regional data are available, the total plantation area in the Capital Region was approximately 51,800 hectares, comprised of approximately 1,800 hectares of hardwood plantations and 50,000 hectares of softwood plantations. The main hardwood species planted is shining gum (Eucalyptus nitens) and the main softwood species planted is radiata pine (Pinus radiata).
In 2011, there were approximately 2.4 million hectares of native forests in the Capital region, comprised mainly of Eucalypt medium open (1.1 million hectares), Eucalypt medium woodland (779,200 hectares), and Eucalypt tall open (218,800 hectares) forest types. Approximately 937,600 hectares of the native forest are privately owned, 934,100 hectares are in nature conservation reserves and 339,500 hectares are multiple-use public forest available for timber production. Major export and timber processing industries are located at Edrom, Eden, and Bombala.
In 2013–14, the total plantation area in New South Wales was approximately 390,000 hectares, comprised of approximately 90,600 hectares of hardwood plantations, 296,700 hectares of softwood plantations, and 2,700 hectares of other plantations. The main hardwood species planted are Dunn's white gum (Eucalyptus dunnii), blackbutt (Eucalyptus pilularis), flooded gum (Eucalyptus grandis) and Sydney blue gum (Eucalyptus saligna). The main softwood species planted are radiata pine (Pinus radiata), slash pine (Pinus elliottii) and Caribbean pine (Pinus caribaea).
In 2014–15, the volume of native hardwood logs harvested was 924 000 cubic metres valued at $115 million. The volume of plantation hardwood logs harvested was 57 000 cubic metres valued at $6 million. The volume of softwood harvested was 4.6 million cubic metres valued at $347 million. These values include both New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.
Total sales and service income in the New South Wales forest and wood product industry was estimated at approximately $7.2 billion in 2013–14. The income was generated from the sale of wood products estimated at approximately $3.4 billion, and the remaining $3.9 billion was generated from the sale of paper and paper products.
In 2011, the New South Wales forestry sector employed 22,247 workers (0.7 per cent of the total employed workforce in New South Wales) compared with 25,243 (0.9 per cent) in 2006. The number of people employed includes forestry support services and timber wholesaling.
Area of native forest, by tenure, Capital regionSource:
ABARES Australia's State of the Forests Report 2013
ABS 2011, Census of Population and Housing, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra.
NSWDPI (New South Wales Department of Primary Industries) 2013, Fishing Guides, NSW Department of Primary Industries, New South Wales.
Steffe, AS, & Murphy, JJ, 2011, Recreational fishing surveys in the Greater Sydney Region, NSW Fisheries final report series no.131, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Cronulla Fisheries Research Centre of Excellence, Cronulla, New South Wales.
Trenaman, R, Livingstone, S, & Creese, A, 2015, Aquaculture Production Report 2013–2014, NSW Department of Primary Industries.