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About my region – Wide Bay 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 and forestry sectors in the Wide Bay region and the recent Queensland financial performance of the broadacre, dairy and vegetable industries.

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Regional overview

The Wide Bay region of Queensland is located in the south–east of the state. The region comprises the five local government areas of Bundaberg, Fraser Coast, Gympie, North Burnett, and South Burnett, and the major regional centres of Bundaberg, Gympie and Maryborough. The region covers a total area of around 48,503 square kilometres, or 2.8 per cent of Queensland's total area, and is home to approximately 292,400 people (ABS 2017).

Agricultural land in the Wide Bay region occupies 33,000 square kilometres, or 68 per cent of the region. Areas classified as conservation and natural environments (nature conservation, protected areas and minimal use) occupy 7,813 square kilometres, or 16 per cent of the region. The most common land use by area is grazing modified pastures which occupies 17,650 square kilometres or 37 per cent of the Wide Bay region.

Broad land use in the Wide Bay region
Shows a map of broad land use in the Wide Bay 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: 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 112,600 people were employed in the Wide Bay region. The region accounts for 5 per cent of total employment in Queensland and 16 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 16,200 people, followed by retail trade with 13,600 people, and manufacturing with 10,400 people. Other important employment sectors in the region were agriculture, forestry and fishing; construction; and education and training. Agriculture, forestry and fishing sector employed 9,900 people, representing 9 per cent of the region's workforce.

Employment profile, Wide Bay region, May 2018
Shows the number of people employed in the Wide Bay 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 2018

Agricultural sector

Value of agricultural production

In 2016–17, the gross value of agricultural production in the Wide Bay region was $1.4 billion, which was 10 per cent of the total gross value of agricultural production in Queensland ($14 billion).

The Wide Bay 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 ($374 million), followed by sugarcane ($196 million) and mandarins ($141 million). These commodities together contributed 52 per cent of the total value of agricultural production in the region. In 2016–17 the Wide Bay region accounted for 94 per cent ($3 million) of the total value of Queensland's peas production.

Value of agricultural production, Wide Bay region, 2016–17
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 2018

Number and type of farms

ABS data indicate that in 2015–16 there were 2,709 farms in the Wide Bay region with an estimated value of agricultural operations of $40,000 or more. The region contains 15 per cent of all farm businesses in Queensland.

Number of farms, by industry classification, Wide Bay region, Queensland, 2015–16
Industry classificationWide Bay regionQueensland
Number of farms% of RegionNumber of farmsContribution of region
to state total
%
Beef Cattle Farming (Specialised)     1,437 53.0     8,466 17.0
Sugar Cane Growing        332 12.3      2,831 11.7
Other Fruit and Tree Nut Growing        179 6.6          867 20.7
Vegetable Growing (Outdoors)        150 5.6          679 22.2
Dairy Cattle Farming           94 3.5          498 18.9
Other Crop Growing nec          84 3.1          349 24.1
Citrus Fruit Growing           76 2.8          168 45.0
Other Grain Growing           64 2.4      1,127 5.7
Horse Farming           63 2.3          426 14.9
Pig Farming           50 1.9          129 39.1
Other       179 6.6      2,389 7.5
Total agriculture     2,709 100    17,929 15.1

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 (1,437 farms) were the most common, accounting for 53 per cent of all farms in the Wide Bay region, and 17 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 46 per cent of farms in the Wide Bay region had an EVAO between $50,000 and $150,000. These farms accounted for only 10 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in 2015–16. In comparison, 8 per cent of farms in the region had an EVAO of more than $1 million and accounted for an estimated 48 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in the Wide Bay region in 2015–16.

Distribution of farms by estimated value of agricultural operations, Wide Bay region, 2015–16
Shows share of farms and share of value of agricultural operations in the Wide Bay region. The figure is discussed in the previous paragraph.
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 the broadacre, beef, grain, dairy and vegetable farms in Queensland.

Forestry sector

In 2014–15, the most recent year for which regional data are available, the total plantation area in the Wide Bay region was 128,200 hectares, comprised of 13,600 hectares of hardwood plantations and 114,500 hectares of softwood plantations. The main hardwood species planted are Dunn's white gum (Eucalyptus dunnii) and lemon-scented gum (Corymbia citriodora). The main softwood species planted are Caribbean pine (Pinus caribaea), hoop pine (Araucaria cunninghamii) and slash pine (P.elliottii).

In 2011, there were 2.4 million hectares of native forests in the Wide Bay region, comprised mainly of Eucalypt medium woodland (870,200 hectares), Eucalypt medium open (868,800 hectares) and Rainforest (123,600 hectares) forest types. There were 1.1 million hectares of native forests privately owned, 436,800 hectares were in nature conservation reserves and 475,100 hectares were multiple-use public forest available for timber production Major timber processing industries are located in Imbil, Toolara Forest and Owanyilla, with the majority of mills being sawmills.

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.

Areas of native forest, by tenure, Wide Bay region
Shows the areas of native forest, by tenure in the Wide Bay region. 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.

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Last reviewed:
07 Nov 2018