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, vegetable, and sugarcane industries.
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 273,300 people (ABS 2011).
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.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data from the February 2017 Labour Force Survey indicate that around 114,800 people were employed in the Wide Bay region. The region accounts for 5 per cent of total employment in Queensland and 20 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 16,900 people, followed by retail trade with 15,900 people. The agriculture, forestry and fishing was the third largest employment sector with 10,900 people, representing 10 per cent of the region's workforce. Other important employment sectors in the region were education and training, construction, and accommodation and food services.
Value of agricultural production
In 2014–15, the gross value of agricultural production in the Wide Bay region was $1.1 billion, which was 10 per cent of the total gross value of agricultural production in Queensland ($11.9 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 ($379 million), followed by sugarcane ($120 million) and mandarins ($83 million). These commodities together contributed 51 per cent of the total value of agricultural production in the region. In 2014–15 the Wide Bay region accounted for 74 per cent ($56 million) of the total value of Queensland's macadamia production.
Number and type of farms
ABS data indicate that in 2014–15 there were 4,025 farms in the Wide Bay region with an estimated value of agricultural operations of $5,000 or more. The region contains 18 per cent of all farm businesses in Queensland.
Number of farms, by industry classification, Wide Bay region, Queensland, 2014–15
Wide Bay region
Number of farms
% of Region
Number of farms
Contribution of region
to state total
Beef Cattle Farming (Specialised)
Sugar Cane Growing
Other Fruit and Tree Nut Growing
Vegetable Growing (Outdoors)
Dairy Cattle Farming
Other Crop Growing nec
Other Grain Growing
Grain-Sheep or Grain-Beef Cattle Farming
Citrus 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 (2,348 farms) were the most common, accounting for 58 per cent of all farms in the Wide Bay 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 47 per cent of farms in the Wide Bay region had an EVAO of less than $50,000. These farms accounted for only 5 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in 2014–15. In comparison, 12 per cent of farms in the region had an EVAO of more than $350,000 and accounted for an estimated 66 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in the Wide Bay region in 2014–15.
Farm financial performance
Estimates of financial performance are available for all the broadacre, dairy, vegetable, and sugarcane farms in Queensland.
In 2010–11, the most recent year for which regional data are available, the total plantation area in the Wide Bay region was approximately 127,100 hectares, including approximately 12,500 hectares of hardwood plantations, 109,500 hectares of softwood plantations and 5,100 hectares of other plantations. The main hardwood species planted are Dunn's white gum (Eucalyptus dunnii) and lemon-scented gum (Corymbia citriodora), and the main softwood species planted are Caribbean pine (Pinus caribaea), hoop pine (Araucaria cunninghamii) and slash pine (P.elliottii).
In 2011, there were approximately 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. Approximately 1.1 million hectares of the native forests are privately owned, 436,800 hectares are in nature conservation reserves and 475,100 hectares are 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 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.
Areas of native forest, by tenure, Wide Bay region
Source: ABARES Australia's State of the Forests Report 2013
ABS 2011, Census of Population and Housing, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra.