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

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Regional overview

The Greater Brisbane region comprises eight local government areas. It includes the city of Brisbane and the regional centres of Caboolture and Ipswich. The region covers a total area of around 15,800 square kilometres or 1 per cent of Queensland’s total area and is home to approximately 2,413,500 people (ABS 2018).

Agricultural land in the Greater Brisbane region occupies 9,600 square kilometres, or 61 per cent of the region. Areas classified as conservation and natural environments (nature conservation, protected areas and minimal use) occupy 2,700 square kilometres, or 17 per cent of the region. The most common land use by area is grazing modified pastures, which occupies 5,200 square kilometres or 33 per cent of the Greater Brisbane region (ABARES 2016).

Broad land use in the Greater Brisbane region
Shows a map of broad land use in the Gold Coast 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 - Update December 2018


Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data from the February 2019 Labour Force Survey indicate that around 1.3 million people were employed in the Greater Brisbane region. The region accounts for 50 per cent of total employment in Queensland and 15 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 176,600 people, followed by retail trade with 119,400 people, and professional, scientific and technical services with 114,700 people. Other important employment sectors in the region were, construction; education and training; and manufacturing. The agriculture, forestry and fishing sector employed 10,200 people, representing 1 per cent of the region's workforce.

Employment profile, Greater Brisbane region, February 2019
Shows the number of people employed in the Gold Coast 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 2019

Agricultural sector

Value of agricultural production

In 2017-18, the gross value of agricultural production in the Greater Brisbane region was $993 million, which was 7 per cent of the total gross value of agricultural production in Queensland ($13 billion).

The Greater Brisbane region has a diverse agricultural sector. The most important commodities in the Greater Brisbane region based on the gross value of agricultural production were poultry ($225 million), followed by strawberries ($117 million) and by cattle and calves  ($114 million). These commodities together contributed 46 per cent of the total value of agricultural production in the region. In 2017–18 the Greater Brisbane region accounted for around 78 per cent ($34 million) of the total value of Queensland's carrots production.

Value of agricultural production, Greater Brisbane region, 2017–18
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 2019

Number and type of farms

ABS data indicate that in 2016–17 there were 1,385 farms in the Greater Brisbane region with an estimated value of agricultural operations of $40,000 or more. The region contains 8 per cent of all farm businesses in Queensland.

Number of farms, by industry classification, Greater Brisbane region, 2016–17
Industry classificationGreater Brisbane region​Queensland
Number of farms% of RegionNumber of farmsContribution of region to state total %
Beef Cattle Farming (Specialised)55540.18,5286.5
Horse Farming14210.246030.8
Vegetable Growing (Outdoors)1269.167118.8
Dairy Cattle Farming1218.750923.7
Poultry Farming (Meat)695.011559.8
Other Crop Growing nec543.918928.6
Other Fruit and Tree Nut Growing443.17625.7
Nursery Production (Outdoors)392.813828.0
Berry Fruit Growing392.87551.4
Turf Growing342.58042.7
Total agriculture 1,385 100 18,401 7.5

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

Farms in the table above are classified according to the activities that generate most of their value of production. Beef cattle farms (555 farms) were the most common, accounting for 40 per cent of all farms in the Greater Brisbane region, and 7 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 45 per cent of farms in the Greater Brisbane region had an EVAO between $50,000 and $150,000. These farms accounted for only 7 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in 2016–17. In comparison, 13 per cent of farms in the region had an EVAO of more than $1 million and accounted for an estimated 63 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in the Greater Brisbane region in 2016–17.

Distribution of farms by estimated value of agricultural operations, Greater Brisbane region, 2016–17
Shows share of farms and share of value of agricultural operations in the Gold Coast region. The figure is discussed in the previous paragraph.
Note: Only farms with an EVAO of $50,000 or more in 2016–17 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

Farm financial performance

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

Fisheries sector

The Greater Brisbane area is a key commercial fishing area in Queensland. The coastal area contains Moreton Bay, Moreton Island, North and South Stradbroke Island. The waters of Moreton Bay are within the Queensland Moreton Bay Marine Park. The marine park has five types of zones that allow different types of use and afford various levels of protection. Wild-caught species in the area include prawns (greasyback, banana and school prawns), a principal catch of the River and Inshore Beam Trawl Fishery, which is a subsector of the Queensland East Coast Trawl fishery. Blue swimmer crabs are also caught in the area—Moreton Bay is a high catch and effort region for this species. Common finfish species targeted by commercial fishers in the area are dusky and bartail flathead. The coastal areas in the vicinity of Moreton Bay are also popular for recreational fishing. The key recreational finfish species targeted are flathead, crabs, prawns and squid.

The Brisbane and Moreton area produced 3.1 tonnes of aquaculture production in 2016–17 utilising a pond area of 0.4 hectares (Lobegeiger 2018). Aquaculture species produced in the Moreton area are prawns and Sydney rock oysters.

Although the participation rate (14 per cent) of Greater Brisbane region residents in recreational fishing is much lower than in regional centres, the large population means that 37 per cent of Queensland fishers live in this region (Taylor et al 2012). Greater Brisbane residents mostly fish in south-eastern Queensland, with equal amounts of fishing effort in estuarine and coastal waters. More days are spent fishing from the shore than from boats. The most numerous species harvested by Brisbane residents were sand whiting, trumpeter whiting, yellowfin bream, tailor, dusky flathead, blue swimmer crab and mud crab. The results of the 2010 statewide recreational fishing survey revealed that Brisbane region residents caught over 95 per cent of the Queensland harvest of blue swimmer crab and about half the harvest of whiting, tailor, snapper and pearl perch.

In 2015–16 the total gross value of Queensland's fisheries production was $291.1 million, a decrease of 1 per cent ($2.1 million) from 2014-15. Queensland contributed 10 per cent of the total value of Australian fisheries production in 2015–16. In value terms, the wild-catch sector accounted for 60 per cent ($175.9 million) of the state's total production and the aquaculture sector accounted for the remaining 40 per cent ($118.3 million).

Queensland's wild-catch fisheries sector provides a range of fisheries products. The highest contribution being from prawns, which account for 36 per cent of the total value of wild-catch fisheries production with a value of $62.7 million, followed by coral trout (15 per cent; $26.8 million) and crabs (14 per cent; $24.2 million). Over the last decade the real value of Queensland's wild-caught fisheries products has reduced by 37 per cent. Prawns, snapper and shark, showed the largest decline in the value of production over the past decade, reducing by 35 per cent, 77 per cent and 66 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 4 per cent in 2015–16 to $118.3 million. Prawn and barramundi farming account for the largest share of production by value, with prawns accounting for 68 per cent, and $80.5 million of production, followed by barramundi (25 per cent; $29.3 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.

In 2015–16, Queensland's fisheries product exports were valued at $199.6 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 42 per cent, 17 per cent and 14 per cent of the total value of exports in 2015–16, respectively. Other major export destinations include China (7 per cent) and Vietnam (4 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 (QDAFF 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.

Forestry sector

In 2014–15, the most recent year for which regional data are available, the total plantation area in the Greater Brisbane region was 27,600 hectares, comprised of 3,200 hectares of hardwood plantations and 24,500 hectares of softwood plantations. The main hardwood species planted are Dunn's white gum (Eucalyptus dunnii) and flooded gum (E. grandis). The main softwood species planted is hoop pine (Araucaria cunninghamii).

In 2011, there were 690,000 hectares of native forests in the Greater Brisbane region, comprised mainly of Eucalypt medium open (287,000 hectares), Eucalypt medium woodland (102,100 hectares) and Rainforest (57,500 hectares) forest types. There were 436,600 hectares of native forests privately owned, 133,700 hectares were in nature conservation reserves and 57,600 hectares were multiple-use public forest available for timber production. Major timber processing industries are located at Caboolture and Burpengary.

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.

Area of native forest, by tenure, Greater Brisbane region
Shows share of farms and share of value of agricultural operations in the Gold Coast region. The figure is discussed in the previous paragraph.
Source: ABARES Australia's State of the Forests Report 2013


ABARES 2016, Land Use of Australia 2010–11, ABARES, Canberra, May.

ABARES 2018, Catchment scale land use of Australia – December 2018, Canberra, December.

ABS 2018, Population by Age and Sex, Regions of Australia, 2017, cat. no. 3235.0 Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra, accessed 10 January 2019.

ABS 2019a Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, Quarterly, Feb 2019, cat. no. 6291.0 Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra, accessed 03 April 2019.

ABS 2019b Value of Agricultural Commodities Produced, Australia, 2017-18, cat. no. 7503.0 Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra, accessed 15 May 2019.

DEEDI 2009, Prospects for Queensland's primary industries 2009–10, Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, Brisbane, Queensland.

Lobegeiger, R, 2018, Aquaculture production summary for Queensland 2016–17, Queensland Government.

QDAF 2015, Statewide recreational Fishing Surveys, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Brisbane, Queensland.

Taylor, S, Webley, J & McInnes, K 2012, 2010 Statewide Recreational Fishing Survey, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Brisbane, Queensland.

Last reviewed:
03 Jun 2019