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 Fitzroy region and the recent Queensland financial performance of the broadacre, dairy and vegetable industries.
The Fitzroy region of Queensland is located along the central east coast of the state. The region comprises the five local government areas of Banana, Central Highlands, Gladstone, Rockhampton, and Woorabinda, and the major regional centres of Emerald, Gladstone and Rockhampton. The region covers a total area of around 117,549 square kilometres or 6.79 per cent of Queensland's total area and is home to approximately 226,300 people (ABS 2017).
Agricultural land in the Fitzroy region occupies 90,720 square kilometres, or 77 per cent of the region. Areas classified as conservation and natural environments (nature conservation, protected areas and minimal use) occupy 17,333 square kilometres, or 15 per cent of the region. The most common land use by area is grazing modified pastures which occupies 54,813 square kilometres or 47 per cent of the Fitzroy region.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data from the November 2017 Labour Force Survey indicate that around 106,400 people were employed in the Fitzroy region. The region accounts for 4 per cent of total employment in Queensland and 11 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 14,700 people, followed by the retail trade with 10,200 people, and construction with 8,900 people. Other important employment sectors in the region were mining; manufacturing; and public administration and safety. The agriculture, forestry and fishing sector employed 6,300 people, representing 6 per cent of the region's workforce.
Value of agricultural production
In 2016–17, the gross value of agricultural production in the Fitzroy region was $1.5 billion, which was 10 per cent of the total gross value of agricultural production in Queensland ($14 billion).
The most important commodities in the Fitzroy region based on the gross value of agricultural production were cattle and calves ($1.02 billion), followed by cotton ($84 million) and wheat ($46 million). These commodities together contributed 79 per cent of the total value of agricultural production in the region.
Number and type of farms
ABS data indicate that in 2015–16 there were 2,128 farms in the Fitzroy region with an estimated value of agricultural operations of $40,000 or more. The region contains 12 per cent of all farm businesses in Queensland.
Number of farms, by industry classification, Fitzroy region, 2015–16
Number of farms
% of Region
Number of farms
Contribution of region to state total %
Beef Cattle Farming (Specialised)
Grain-Sheep or Grain-Beef Cattle Farming
Other Grain Growing
Other Crop Growing
Other Fruit and Tree Nut Growing
Dairy Cattle Farming
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 2017
Farms in the table above are classified according to the activities that generate most of their value of production. Beef cattle farms (1,636 farms) were the most common, accounting for 77 per cent of all farms in the Fitzroy region, and 19 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 33 per cent of farms in the Fitzroy region had an EVAO between $50,000 and $150,000. These farms accounted for only 6 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in 2015–16. In comparison, 11 per cent of farms in the region had an EVAO of more than $1 million and accounted for an estimated 47 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in the Fitzroy region in 2015–16.
Farm financial performance
Estimates of financial performance are available for all broadacre, beef, grains, diary and vegetable farms in Queensland.
Gladstone is a key fishing port in the Fitzroy region, for both commercial and recreational fishing. The East Coast Trawl Fishery, which is the largest of Queensland's commercial fisheries, operates in the region. The fishery targets mostly prawns, primarily king, endeavour and red spot king prawns, which are caught mainly in the central Queensland region. The fishery also harvests bugs, squid, scallops, bugs and other species.
The proportion of residents in the Fitzroy Hinterland region that fish at least once each year was one of the highest in Queensland with 26 per cent (QDAF 2015). Residents of the region mainly fish in coastal waters and adjacent reefs within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park near Rockhampton and Gladstone, and the estuaries and freshwater reaches of the central coast catchment. In the central coast catchment there is fishing in estuaries and freshwater reaches of rivers for mud crab, bream, whiting and barramundi. Boat fishers in this region catch cod, sweetlips, red throat emperor and a variety of other reef species. Gladstone harbour is also an area for recreational and charter activities.
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 rock lobster. 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 (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.
In 2014–15, the most recent year for which regional data are available, the total plantation area in the Fitzroy region was 26,400 hectares, comprised of 8,200 hectares of hardwood plantation and 18,200 hectares of softwood plantations. The main hardwood species planted in the Fitzroy region is Dunn's white gum (Eucalyptus dunnii) and the main softwood species planted is slash pine (Pinus elliottii).
In 2011, there were 4.8 million hectares of native forests in the Fitzroy region, comprised mainly of Eucalypt medium woodland (2.1 million hectares), Eucalypt medium open (1.4 million hectares), Acacia (372,400 hectares) and Rainforest (146,500 hectares) forest types. There were 1.7 million hectares of native forests in leasehold forests, 1.6 million hectares were privately owned, 639,000 hectares were in nature conservation reserves and 700,600 hectares were multiple-use public forest available for timber production. Major timber processing industries are located at Dingo, Theodore and Bondoola.
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.
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.
Population by Age and Sex, Regions of Australia, 2016, cat. no. 3235.0 Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra, accessed 19 September 2017.
Prospects for Queensland's primary industries 2009–10, Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, Brisbane, Queensland.
Statewide recreational Fishing Surveys, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Brisbane, Queensland.