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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 229,100 people (ABS 2018).

Agricultural land in the Greater Hobart region occupies approximately 730 square kilometres, or 44 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 H​obart region (ABARES 2016).

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 - Update December 2018

Employment

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data from the May 2019 Labour Force Survey indicate that around 113,400 people were employed in the Greater Hobart region. The Greater Hobart region accounts for 46 per cent of total employment in Tasmania and 23 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 18,400 people, followed by public administration and safety with 12,100 people, and retail trade with 10,200 people. Other important employment sectors in the region were education and training; accommodation and food services; and construction. The agriculture, forestry and fishing sector employed 3,100 people, representing 3 per cent of the region's workforce.

Employment profile, Greater Hobart region, May 2019
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 2019

Agricultural sector

Value of agricultural production

In 2017–18, the gross value of agricultural production in the Greater Hobart region was $49 million, which was 3 per cent of the total gross value of agricultural production in Tasmania ($1.6 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 wine grapes ($6 million), followed by eggs ($5 million) and cherries ($4 million). These commodities together contributed 32 per cent of the total value of agricultural production in the region.

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

Number and type of farms

ABS data indicate that in 2016–17 there were 121 farms in the Greater Hobart region with an estimated value of agricultural operations of $40,000 or more. The region contains 5 per cent of all farm businesses in Tasmania.

Number of farms, by industry classification, Greater Hobart region, 2016–17
Industry classificationGreater Hobart regionTasmania
Number of farms% of RegionNumber of farmsContribution of region to state total %
Sheep Farming (Specialised)3024.829510.2
Grape Growing1613.64635.8
Beef Cattle Farming (Specialised)1411.56932.0
Berry Fruit Growing97.64321.2
Other Grain Growing86.54617.0
Vegetable Growing (Outdoors)75.53112.2
Poultry Farming (Meat)54.11632.2
Sheep-Beef Cattle Farming53.91553.0
Horse Farming43.5518.3
Poultry Farming (Eggs)42.9937.4
Other1916.17602.6
Total agriculture 121 100 2,426 5.0

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.
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics

Farms in the table above are classified according to the activities that generate most of their value of production. Sheep farms (30 farms) were the most common, accounting for 25 per cent of all farms in the Greater Hobart region, and 10 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 46 per cent of farms in the Greater Hobart region had an EVAO between $50,000 and $150,000. These farms accounted for 8 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in 2016–17. In comparison, 14 per cent of farms in the region had an EVAO of more than $1 million and accounted for an estimated 71 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in the Greater Hobart region in 2016–17.

Distribution of farms by estimated value of agricultural operations, Greater Hobart region, 2016–17
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.
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, 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 2015–16 the gross value of Tasmanian fisheries production is estimated to be around $913 million, an increase of 11 per cent ($879 million) from 2014–15. Tasmania contributed 30 per cent of the total value of Australian fisheries production in 2015–16. In value terms, the wild–catch sector accounted for 20 per cent ($182.3 million) of the state's total production and the aquaculture sector accounted for the remaining 80 per cent ($730.7 million).

Tasmania's wild–catch fisheries sector is dominated by two main products, abalone and southern rock lobster, which account for 44 per cent and 51 per cent, respectively, of the total value of wild-caught production in 2015–16. Over the past decade the real value of Tasmania's wild–caught fisheries products has reduced by 16 per cent to $182.3 million 2015–16. 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 40 per cent to $83 million in 2015–16. 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 24 per cent and 51 per cent of the total volume and value, respectively, of wild–catch production in 2015–16.

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 $730.7 million in 2015–16, representing around 80 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.

In 2015–16, Tasmanian fisheries product exports were valued at $186.9 million. China and Vietnam, are the major destinations for Tasmania fisheries exports, accounting for 35 per cent and 24 per cent of the total value of exports in 2015–16, respectively. Other major export destinations include Hong Kong (20 per cent) and Japan (7 per cent).

Recreational fishing is popular in Tasmania with an estimated 98,000 Tasmanian residents (5 years and over) participating in the activity in the 12 months prior to October 2012 (Lyle, Stark & Tracey 2014). In its survey of recreational fishers in Tasmania found that most fishing effort is directed to South East region (27 per cent). The key species caught by recreational fishers include Flathead, Australian salmon, Trout, Gurnards, Black Bream and Wrasse.

Forestry sector

In 2014–15, the most recent year for which regional data are available, the total plantation area in the Greater Hobart region was 4,300 hectares, comprised of 3,100 hectares of hardwood plantations, 800 hectares of softwood plantations and 400 hectares of other plantations. The main hardwood species planted are blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus) and shining gum (Eucalyptus nitens). The main softwood species planted is radiata pine (Pinus radiata).

In 2016, there were 71,900 hectares of native forests in the Greater Hobart region, comprised mainly of Eucalypt medium woodland forest (52,500 hectares), Eucalypt tall open forest (8,200 hectares), Eucalypt medium open forest (4,500 hectares) and Eucalypt tall woodland forest (3,600 hectares). The majority of native forests were privately owned (47,700 hectares), while 4,600 hectares were in multiple-use public forests and 14,600 hectares were in nature conservation reserves. Major timber processing industries are located in Boyer and Forcett.

In 2016, the forestry sector in Greater Hobart employed 594 persons (0.6 per cent of all persons employed in Greater Hobart), compared with 846 persons (0.9 per cent) in 2011. The number of persons employed includes in the following subsectors combined: forestry and logging; forestry support services; wood product manufacturing; and pulp, paper and converted paper product manufacturing.

Tasmania state data

In 2016–17, the total plantation area in Tasmania was 309,900 hectares, comprised of 233,900 hectares of hardwood plantations and 75,900 hectares of softwood plantations.

In 2016, Tasmania had 30 sawmills (including three softwood sawmills), two post and pole processors, five wood-based panel processors, and one paper and paperboard processor. Tasmania’s has the most log and woodchip export facilities (nine in total) nationally. All these processors are located throughout Tasmania. The major timber processing centres include Bell Bay, Boyer, Launceston, and Smithton. The principal ports exporting forest products are located at Bell Bay, Burnie and Hobart.

In 2016–17, the estimated sales and service income generated from the sale of wood products in Tasmania was $374 million. Sales and service income for paper and paper products is not available for 2016–17.

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, May 2019, cat. no. 6291.0 Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra, accessed 25 June 2019.

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

Lyle, J.M., Stark, K.E. & Tracey, S.R. 2014, 2012–13 Survey of recreational fishing in Tasmania, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania.

Montreal Process Implementation Group for Australia and National Forest Inventory Steering Committee, 2018, Australia’s State of the Forests Report 2018, ABARES, Canberra, December. CC BY 4.0.

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Last reviewed:
17 Jul 2019