About my region – Greater Hobart

​​​​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 Greater Hobart region and the recent financial performance of the Tasmanian broadacre, dairy and vegetable industries.

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Regional overview

The Greater Hobart region of Tasmania is located in the south of the state and includes the city of Hobart and the surrounding region. The region includes the five local government areas of Brighton, Clarence, Glenorchy, Hobart, Sorell, parts of Derwent Valley, and Kingborough, the city of Hobart and the regional centres of New Norfolk and Richmond. The region covers a total area of around 1,695 square kilometres or 2.48 per cent of Tasmania's total area and is home to approximately 224,500 people (ABS 2017).

Agricultural land in the Greater Hobart region occupies approximately 720 square kilometres, or 43 per cent of the region. Areas classified as conservation and natural environments (nature conservation, protected areas and minimal use) occupy about 500 square kilometres, or 30 per cent of the region. The most common land use by area is grazing native vegetation, which occupies 330 square kilometres or 20 per cent of the Greater Hobart region.

Broad land use in the Greater Hobart region
Shows a map of broad land use in the Greater Hobart region Tasmania. 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 107,000 people were employed in the Greater Hobart region. The Greater Hobart region accounts for 44 per cent of total employment in Tasmania and 15 per cent of all people employed in the Tasmanian agriculture, forestry and fishing sector.

Health care and social assistance was the largest employment sector with 15,700 people, followed by retail trade with 12,100 people, and construction with 10,400 people. Other important employment sectors in the region were public administration and safety, accommodation and food services, and education and training. The agriculture, forestry and fishing sector employed 2,000 people, representing 2 per cent of the region's workforce.

Employment profile, Greater Hobart region, August 2017
Shows the number of people employed in the Greater Hobart region Tasmania 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 Greater Hobart region was $61 million, which was 4 per cent of the total gross value of agricultural production in Tasmania ($1.5 billion).

The Greater Hobart region has a diverse agricultural sector. The most important commodities in the region based on the gross value of agricultural production were vegetables ( $19.3 million),  followed by fruit and nuts (excluding grapes) ($3.9 million) and cattle and calves ($3.3 million). These commodities together contributed 42 per cent of the total value of agricultural production in the region. In 2015–16 the most important vegetables based on the gross value of production were lettuce ($1.6 million), followed by potatoes ($1.4 million) and tomatoes ($12 thousand). The most important fruit and nuts (excluding grapes) were cherries ($2.1 million), followed by blueberries ($30 thousand) and strawberries ($30 thousand).

Value of agricultural production, Greater Hobart region, 2015-16
Shows the gross value of agricultural production in the Greater Hobart region Tasmania 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 231 farms in the Greater Hobart region with an estimated value of agricultural operations of $5,000 or more. The region contains 7 per cent of all farm businesses in Tasmania.

Number of farms, by industry classification, Greater Hobart region, 2014–15

Industry classification

Greater Hobart region

Tasmania

Number of farms

% of Region

Number of farms

Contribution of region to state total %

Sheep Farming (Specialised)

68

29.6

404

16.9

Beef Cattle Farming (Specialised)

37

16.2

1,197

3.1

Grape Growing

21

9.0

86

24.1

Grain-Sheep or Grain-Beef Cattle Farming

16

6.8

141

11.2

Horse Farming

15

6.6

74

20.7

Stone Fruit Growing

12

5.2

46

26.3

Vegetable Growing (Outdoors)

12

5.2

273

4.4

Other

49

21.3

934

5.3

Total agriculture

231

100

3,156

7.3

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. Sheep farms (68 farms) were the most common, accounting for 30 per cent of all farms in the Greater Hobart region, and 17 per cent of all sheep farms in Tasmania.

Estimated value of agricultural operations (EVAO) is a measure of the value of production from farms and a measure of their business size. Around 65 per cent of farms in the Greater Hobart region had an EVAO of less than $50,000. These farms accounted for 6 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in 2014–15. In comparison, 5 per cent of farms in the region had an EVAO of more than $1 million and accounted for an estimated 70 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in the Greater Hobart region in 2014–15.

Distribution of farms by estimated value of agricultural operations, Greater Hobart region, 2014–15
Shows share of farms and share of value of agricultural operations in the Greater Hobart region Tasmania. 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 broadacre, beef, sheep, dairy and vegetable farms in Tasmania.

Fisheries sector

Tasmania has a range of wild–catch finfish, crustacean, mollusc and aquaculture fisheries production. Hobart is the main fishing port in Tasmania servicing fishers across a range of commercial fishing activities. The Greater Hobart region is also renowned for its significant Atlantic salmon aquaculture sector. In the region, the Derwent River, Frederick Henry Bay and Norfolk Bay estuaries are popular sites for both recreational and commercial fishing. The rest of Tasmania is predominantly a wild–catch production area for shellfish, in particular Southern rock lobster, abalone and scallop, and finfish occurring mostly along the south west coast of Tasmania and at King Island. The Tasmanian greenlip abalone population is abundant along the north coast and around the Bass Strait islands. King Island is a large centre for giant crab production. Georges Bay and Ansons Bay are key shellfish producing areas, including cockles, clams and some aquaculture oysters. The ports of Bridport and St. Helens are important landing sites for scallop fishers operating in both Commonwealth and Tasmanian fisheries. Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout aquaculture also occurs in Macquarie Harbour.

In 2014–15 the gross value of Tasmanian fisheries production is estimated to be around $825 million, an increase of 12 per cent ($89 million) from 2013–14. Tasmania contributed 30 per cent of the total value of Australian fisheries production in 2014–15. In value terms, the wild–catch sector accounted for 21 per cent ($175.3 million) of the state's total production and the aquaculture sector accounted for the remaining 79 per cent ($650 million).

Tasmania's wild–catch fisheries sector is dominated by two main products, abalone and southern rock lobster, which account for 46 per cent and 51 per cent, respectively, of the total value of wild-caught production in 2014–15. Over the past decade the real value of Tasmania's wild–caught fisheries products has reduced by 19 per cent to $175.3 million 2014–15. The decline in value was driven by 61 per cent decline in the total volume of wild–catch fisheries products.

The product for which the real value of production declined most over the past decade is abalone (both wild–caught and aquaculture), falling by 43 per cent to $80 million in 2014–15. This was the result of a 29 per cent reduction in volume. A large proportion of abalone is exported, mostly to Hong Kong, China and Japan. Exchange rate movements have a significant effect on the value of abalone exports and, in turn, production.

Southern rock lobster accounts for a significant proportion of Tasmanian wild–catch production, accounting for 25 per cent and 51 per cent of the total volume and value, respectively, of wild–catch production in 2014–15. The value of Southern rock lobster exports increased by 7 per cent in 2014–15, primarily reflecting a 14 per cent increase in the export unit price from Tasmania.

Commonwealth fisheries active in the Tasmania region include the Commonwealth Trawl Sector (main source of domestic fresh fish for Sydney and Melbourne markets) and the Shark Gillnet, Hook and Trap Sector (supplies gummy shark or 'flake' to Melbourne) of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery. The Bass Strait Central Zone Scallop Fishery and Small Pelagic Fishery (mostly fishmeal for aquaculture and agriculture) also operate in the waters off Tasmania.

The importance of aquaculture in Tasmanian fisheries production increased over the past decade. Over the past decade the real value of aquaculture production tripled reaching $559 million in 2013–14, representing around 76 per cent of the state's fisheries production. Most of the growth in aquaculture production is attributed to increases in the output of farmed salmonid species, in particular Atlantic salmon.

Forestry sector

In 2010–11, the most recent year for which regional data are available, the total plantation area in the Greater Hobart region was approximately 4 300 hectares, comprised of approximately 3 200 hectares of hardwood plantations, 300 hectares of softwood plantations and 800 hectares of other plantations. The main hardwood species planted are blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus) and shining gum (E.nitens), and the main softwood species planted is radiata pine (Pinus radiata).

In 2011, there were approximately 69,000 hectares of native forests in the Greater Hobart region, comprised mainly of Eucalypt medium woodland (48,400 hectares), Eucalypt tall open (8300 hectares), Eucalypt medium open (5,800 hectares) and Eucalypt tall woodland (3,500 hectares) forest types. The majority of native forests are privately owned (47,700 hectares), while 6,100 hectares are multiple-use public forest available for timber production and 5,100 hectares are in nature conservation reserves. Major timber processing industries are located in Boyer and Forcett.

In 2013–14, the total plantation area in Tasmania was approximately 310,700 hectares, comprised of approximately 235,600 hectares of hardwood plantations and 75,100 hectares of softwood plantations. The main hardwood species planted are blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus) and shining gum (Eucalyptus nitens), and the main softwood species planted is radiata pine (Pinus radiata).

In 2014–15, the volume of plantation hardwood logs harvested was 1.3 million cubic metres valued at $95 million. The volume of native hardwood logs harvested was 1.1 million cubic metres valued at $73 million. The volume of softwood harvested was 1.1 million cubic metres valued at $63 million.

Sales and service income in the Tasmanian wood product industry was estimated at approximately $335 million in 2013–14.

In 2011, the Tasmanian forestry sector employed 3,526 workers (1.7 per cent of the total employed workforce in Tasmania) compared with 5,390 (2.7 per cent) in 2006. The number of people employed includes forestry support services and timber wholesaling.

Area of native forest, by tenure, Greater Hobart region
Shows share of farms and share of value of agricultural operations in the Capital region New South Wales. 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.

Lyle, JM, Tracey, SR, Stark, KE & Wotherspoon, S 2009, 2007–08 Survey of Recreational Fishing in Tasmania, University of Tasmania, Hobart, doi: 10.13140/2.1.1905.6006.

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Last reviewed:
17 Oct 2017