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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, vegetable, and sugarcane 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 2016

Employment

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data from the August 2017 Labour Force Survey indicate that around 111,400 people were employed in the Wide Bay region. The region accounts for 5 per cent of total employment in Queensland and 19 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 13,500 people and accommodation and food services with 10,700 people. Agriculture, forestry and fishing was the fourth largest employment sector with 10,200 people, representing 9 per cent of the region's workforce. Other important employment sectors in the region were construction, and education and training .

Employment profile, Wide Bay region, August 2017
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 2017

Agricultural sector

Value of agricultural production

In 2015–16, the gross value of agricultural production in the Wide Bay region was $1.4 billion, which was 11 per cent of the total gross value of agricultural production in Queensland ($13.2 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 ($396 million), followed by sugarcane ($137 million) and mandarins ($114 million). These commodities together contributed 46 per cent of the total value of agricultural production in the region. In 2015–16 the Wide Bay region accounted for 100 per cent ($500,000) of the total value of Queensland's lentil production.

Value of agricultural production, Wide Bay region, 2015–16
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 2017

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

Industry classification

Wide Bay region

Queensland

Number of farms

% of Region

Number of farms

Contribution of region
to state total
%

Beef Cattle Farming (Specialised)

2,348

58.3

12,172

19.3

Sugar Cane Growing

378

9.4

2,983

12.7

Other Fruit and Tree Nut Growing

209

5.2

1,076

19.4

Vegetable Growing (Outdoors)

201

5.0

766

26.2

Dairy Cattle Farming

112

2.8

572

19.6

Other Crop Growing nec

112

2.8

371

30.2

Other Grain Growing

109

2.7

1,355

8.0

Grain-Sheep or Grain-Beef Cattle Farming

107

2.7

1,033

10.4

Horse Farming

101

2.5

683

14.8

Citrus Fruit Growing

98

2.4

215

45.4

Other

250

6.2

1,808

13.8

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 2016

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.

Distribution of farms by estimated value of agricultural operations, Wide Bay region, 2014–15
Shows share of farms and share of value of agricultural operations in the Wide Bay region. The figure is discussed in the previous paragraph.
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016

Farm financial performance

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

Forestry sector

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
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.

Last reviewed:
20 Oct 2017