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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 48,400 square kilometres, or 3 per cent of Queensland's total area, and is home to approximately 294,400 people (ABS 2018).

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 7,800 square kilometres, or 16 per cent of the region. The most common land use by area is grazing modified pastures which occupies 17,600 square kilometres or 36 per cent of the Wide Bay region (ABARES 2016).

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 - Update December 2018

Employment

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data from the February 2019 Labour Force Survey indicate that around 112,300 people were employed in the Wide Bay region. The region accounts for 4 per cent of total employment in Queensland and 13 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 17,700 people, followed by retail trade with 14,400 people, and education and training with 10,300 people. Other important employment sectors in the region were manufacturing; agriculture, forestry and fishing; and public administration and safety. Agriculture, forestry and fishing sector employed 8,400 people, representing 7 per cent of the region's workforce.

Employment profile, Wide Bay region, February 2019
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 2019

Agricultural sector

Value of agricultural production

In 2017–18, the gross value of agricultural production in the Wide Bay region was $1.5 billion, which was 11 per cent of the total gross value of agricultural production in Queensland ($13 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 ($384 million), followed by sugarcane ($143 million) and mandarins ($142 million). These commodities together contributed 46 per cent of the total value of agricultural production in the region. In 2017–18 the Wide Bay region accounted for 94 per cent ($4 million) of the total value of Queensland's oranges production.

Value of agricultural production, Wide Bay 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 2,751 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, 2016–17
Industry classificationWide Bay regionQueensland
Number of farms% of RegionNumber of farmsContribution of region
to state total
%
Beef Cattle Farming (Specialised) 1,42751.98,52816.7
Sugar Cane Growing41014.93,11513.2
Vegetable Growing (Outdoors)1726.367125.7
Other Fruit and Tree Nut Growing1585.776220.7
Grain-Sheep or Grain-Beef Cattle Farming993.692710.7
Dairy Cattle Farming853.150916.7
Other Grain Growing772.81,1536.7
Citrus Fruit Growing762.818241.6
Pig Farming582.111550.6
Other Crop Growing nec401.418921.0
Other1495.42,2516.6
Total agriculture 2,751 100 18,401 14.9

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 (1,427 farms) were the most common, accounting for 52 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 43 per cent of farms in the Wide Bay region had an EVAO between $50,000 and $150,000. These farms accounted for only 9 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in 2016–17. In comparison, 9 per cent of farms in the region had an EVAO of more than $1 million and accounted for an estimated 49 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in the Wide Bay region in 2016–17.

Distribution of farms by estimated value of agricultural operations, Wide Bay region, 2016–17
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 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 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

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.

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Last reviewed:
04 Jun 2019