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About my region – 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 Queensland and the recent Queensland financial performance of the broadacre, dairy and vegetable industries.

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Regional overview

Queensland covers a total area of around 1,730,648 square kilometres and is home to approximately 4,848,900 people (ABS 2017). Agricultural land in Queensland occupies 1,459,398 square kilometres, or around 84 per cent of the state. Areas classified as conservation and natural environments (nature conservation, protected areas and minimal use) occupy 215,429 square kilometres, or 12 per cent of the state. The most common land use by area is grazing native vegetation, which occupies 1,160,394 square kilometres or 67 per cent of the state.

Broad land use in Queensland
Shows a map Queensland covers a total area of around 1,730,648 square kilometres and is home to approximately 4,332,700 people (ABS 2011). Agricultural land in Queensland occupies 1,459,398 square kilometres, or around 84.33 per cent of the state. Areas classified as conservation and natural environments (nature conservation, protected areas and minimal use) occupy 215,429 square kilometres, or 12 per cent of the state. The most common land use by area is grazing native vegetation, which occupies 1,182,400 square kilometres or 87 per cent of the state.
Source: Catchment scale land use of Australia ABARES 2017

Employment

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data from the May 2018 Labour Force Survey indicate that around 2.5 million people were employed in Queensland.

Health care and social assistance was the largest employment sector with 351,900 people, followed by retail trade with 262,300 people, and construction with 239,000 people. Other important employment sectors in Queensland were education and training; accommodation and food services; and manufacturing. The agriculture, forestry and fishing sector employed 63,000 people, representing 3 per cent of Queensland's workforce.

Employment profile, Queensland, May 2018
Shows Health care and social assistance was the largest employment sector with 299,700 people, followed by retail trade with 252,300 people and construction with 222,700 people. Other important employment sectors in Queensland were education and training; accommodation and food services; and professional, scientific and technical services. The agriculture, forestry and fishing sector employed 54,600 people, representing 2 per cent of Queensland's workforce.
Note: Annual average of the preceding 4 quarters.
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, cat. no. 6291.0, Labour Force, Australia 2018

Agricultural sector

Value of agricultural production

In 2016–17, the gross value of agricultural production in Queensland was $14 billion, which was 23 per cent of the total gross value of agricultural production in Australia ($61 billion).

The most important commodities in Queensland based on the gross value of agricultural production were cattle and calves ($5.7 billion), followed by sugarcane ($1.5 billion) and poultry ($651 million). These commodities together contributed 56 per cent of the total value of agricultural production in the state.

Value of agricultural production, Queensland, 2016–17
Shows Estimated value of agricultural operations (EVAO) is a measure of the value of production from farms and a measure of their business size. Around 38 per cent of farms in Queensland had an EVAO of less than $50,000. These farms accounted for only 3 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in 2014–15. In comparison, 7 per cent of farms in the state had an EVAO of more than $1 million and accounted for an estimated 52 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in Queensland in 2014–15. The figure is discussed in the previous paragraph.
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 2018

Number and type of farms

ABS data indicate that in 2015–16 there were 17,929 farms in Queensland with an estimated value of agricultural operations of $40,000 or more. The state contains 21 per cent of all farm businesses in Australia.

Number of farms, by industry classification, Queensland, 2015–16
Industry classificationQueenslandAustralia
Number of farms% of StateNumber of farmsContribution of Qld
to Australian total
%
Beef Cattle Farming (Specialised)8,46647.222,60837.4
Sugar Cane Growing2,83115.83,17989.1
Other Grain Growing1,1276.310,49610.7
Other Fruit and Tree Nut Growing8674.81,93644.8
Grain-Sheep or Grain-Beef Cattle Farming 6883.88,5078.1
Vegetable Growing (Outdoors)6793.82,74224.8
Dairy Cattle Farming4982.86,6097.5
Horse Farming4262.41,88722.6
Other Crop Growing nec3491.91,26827.5
Sheep-Beef Cattle Farming2621.55,0695.2
Other1,7369.720,2158.6
Total agriculture 17,929 100.0 84,515 21.2

Note: Estimated value of agricultural operations $40,000 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 2017

Farms in the table above are classified according to the activities that generate most of their value of production. Beef Cattle farms (8,466 farms) were the most common, accounting for 47 per cent of all 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 33 per cent of farms in Queensland had an EVAO between $50,000 and $150,000. These farms accounted for only 5 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in 2015–16. In comparison, 14 per cent of farms in the state had an EVAO of more than $1 million and accounted for an estimated 56 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in Queensland in 2015–16.

Distribution of farms by estimated value of agricultural operations, Queensland, 2015–16
Shows The most important commodities in Queensland based on the gross value of agricultural production were cattle and calves ($5 billion), followed by sugarcane ($1 billion) and Poultry ($588 million). These commodities together contributed 58 per cent of the total value of agricultural production in the state. The figure is discussed in the previous three paragraphs.

Note: Only farms with an EVAO of $50,000 or more in 2015–16 are included in these data. The scope of ABS Rural Environment and Agricultural Collections changed in 2015–16 to include only agricultural businesses with an EVAO of $40,000 or greater.
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017

Farm financial performance

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

Fisheries sector

In 2015–16 the total gross value of Queensland's fisheries production was $291.1 million, a decrease of 1 per cent ($2.1 million) from 2014–15. Queensland contributed 10 per cent of the total value of Australian fisheries production in 2015–16. In value terms, the wild-catch sector accounted for 60 per cent ($175.9 million) of the state's total production and the aquaculture sector accounted for the remaining 40 per cent ($118.3 million).

Queensland's wild-catch fisheries sector provides a range of fisheries products. The highest contribution being from prawns, which account for 36 per cent of the total value of wild-catch fisheries production with a value of $62.7 million, followed by coral trout (15 per cent; $26.8 million) and crabs (14 per cent; $24.2 million). Over the last decade the real value of Queensland's wild-caught fisheries products has reduced by 37 per cent. Prawns, snapper and shark, showed the largest decline in the value of production over the past decade, reducing by 35 per cent, 77 per cent and 66 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 4 per cent in 2015–16 to $118.3 million. Prawn and barramundi farming account for the largest share of production by value, with prawns accounting for 68 per cent, and $80.5 million of production, followed by barramundi (25 per cent; $29.3 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.

In 2015–16, Queensland's fisheries product exports were valued at $199.6 million. The main export products include live and fresh, chilled or frozen fish, prawns and rock lobster. Hong Kong, Japan and the United States are the major destinations for Queensland fisheries exports, accounting for 42 per cent, 17 per cent and 14 per cent of the total value of exports in 2015–16, respectively. Other major export destinations include China (7 per cent) and Vietnam (4 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 (QDAF 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 2015–16, the total plantation area in Queensland was 230,400 hectares, comprised of 34,800 hectares of hardwood plantations, 195,500 hectares of softwood plantations and 100 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 2011, the most recent year for which data are available, there were 50.8 million hectares of native forests in Queensland, comprised mainly of Eucalypt medium woodland (26.8 million hectares), Melaleuca (5.2 million hectares), Acacia (4.5 million hectares), Eucalypt medium open (4.5 million hectares), and Rainforest (2 million hectares) forest types. The majority of the native forests were in leasehold forests (30.7 million hectares), 10.1 million hectares were privately managed, 5 million hectares were in nature conservation reserves and 2.9 million hectares were multiple-use public forest available for timber production. Major timber processing industries are located at Ayr, Bondoola, Burpengary, Caboolture, Diamond Valley, Dingo, Imbil, Injune, Owanyilla, Palmview, Peachester, Proserpine, Roma, Theodore, Toolara Forest, Townsville and Yarraman.

In 2015–16, the volume of native hardwood logs harvested in Queensland was 285,000 cubic metres valued at $43 million. The volume of plantation hardwood logs harvested was 14,000 cubic metres valued at $1 million. The volume of softwood harvested, including native cypress pines, was 2.6 million cubic metres valued at $205 million.

The sales and service income generated from the sale of wood products in Queensland was estimated at $2.6 billion in 2015–16. Sales and service income for paper and paper products is not available for 2015−16.

In 2016, Queensland's forestry sector employed 9,518 workers (0.4 per cent of the total employed workforce) compared with 12,840 (0.6 per cent) in 2011. The number of people employed includes the following categories: forestry, logging, support services, timber wholesaling; and wood, pulp, paper and converted paper product manufacturing.

Area of native forest, by tenure, Queensland
Shows Area of native forest, by tenure, Queensland. The figure is discussed in the previous paragraph.
Source: ABARES Australia's State of the Forests Report 2013

References

ABS 2017, Population by Age and Sex, Regions of Australia, 2016, cat. no. 3235.0 Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra, accessed 19 September 2017.

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

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

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Last reviewed:
11 Jul 2018