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 May 2020 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 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 171,300 people, followed by professional, scientific and technical services with 123,700 people, and construction with 113,000 people. Other important employment sectors in the region were, retail trade; education and training; and accommodation and food services. The agriculture, forestry and fishing sector employed 10,400 people, representing 1 per cent of the region's workforce.

Employment profile, Greater Brisbane region, May 2020
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 2020

Agricultural sector

Value of agricultural production

In 2018–19, the gross value of agricultural production in the Greater Brisbane region was $1.1 billion, which was 9 per cent of the total gross value of agricultural production in Queensland ($12.9 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 ($287 million), followed by strawberries ($127 million) and by cattle and calves ($125 million). These commodities together contributed 49 per cent of the total value of agricultural production in the region. In 2018–19 the Greater Brisbane region accounted for around 85 per cent ($23 million) of the total value of Queensland's carrots production.

Value of agricultural production, Greater Brisbane region, 2018–19
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 2020

Number and type of farms

ABS data indicate that in 2017–18 there were 1,276 farms in the Greater Brisbane region with an estimated value of agricultural operations of $40,000 or more. The region contains 7 per cent of all farm businesses in Queensland.

Number of farms, by industry classification, Greater Brisbane region, 2017–18
Industry classification Greater Brisbane region ​Queensland
Number of farms % of Region Number of farms Contribution of region to state total %
Beef Cattle Farming (Specialised)        503 39.5      8,288 6.1
Vegetable Growing (Outdoors)        221 17.4          639 34.7
Dairy Cattle Farming        123 9.6          423 29.0
Horse Farming           98 7.7          346 28.4
Poultry Farming (Meat)           58 4.5            92 62.8
Other Fruit and Tree Nut Growing           43 3.4          761 5.6
Berry Fruit Growing           38 2.9            82 45.8
Other Crop Growing nec           34 2.7          238 14.3
Turf Growing           30 2.4            69 43.3
Nursery Production (Outdoors)           27 2.1            78 34.3
Other        101 7.9      6,332 1.6
Total agriculture     1,276 100    17,348 7.4

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 2019

Farms in the table above are classified according to the activities that generate most of their value of production. Beef cattle farms (503 farms) were the most common, accounting for 39 per cent of all farms in the Greater Brisbane region, and 6 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 42 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 2017–18. In comparison, 12 per cent of farms in the region had an EVAO of more than $1 million and accounted for an estimated 61 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in the Greater Brisbane region in 2017–18.

Distribution of farms by estimated value of agricultural operations, Greater Brisbane region, 2017–18
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 2017–18 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 2019

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 and 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. Together with the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast regions, the Greater Brisbane region is responsible for approximately 75% of the River and Inshore Beam Trawl Fishery’s total catch (DEEDI 2011). Other significant state fisheries in the area include the Blue Swimmer Crab Fishery, of which Moreton Bay contributes more than half of the total annual catch (QDAF 2013) and the Marine Aquarium Fish Fishery which collects marine aquarium fish and invertebrates (Heaven 2018). In 2018–19 there was 2,811 tonnes of recreational catch landed in the region including 555 tonnes of Eastern King Prawn, 383 tonnes of Mullets, 174 tonnes of Tiger Prawns, 150 tonnes of Greasyback Prawns and 114 tonnes Blue Swimmer Crabs (QDAF 2020a).

In 2018–19, 0.032 tonnes of aquaculture was also produced in the region, with a total production value of $0.4 million (Schofield 2020). Aquaculture species produced in the Moreton area are Prawns and Sydney Rock Oysters. 

Although the participation rate (14.1%) of Greater Brisbane region residents in recreational fishing is much lower than in regional centres, the large population means that 35% of Queensland fishers live in this region (QDAF 2020b). Greater Brisbane residents mostly fish in south-eastern Queensland, with the majority of fishing effort focused on estuarine and enclosed coastal waters. Commonly targeted species in the region included Mud Crabs, Sand Whiting, Breams and Tailors (Webley et al 2015).

Queensland state data

In 2017–18 the total gross value product (GVP) of Queensland's fisheries production was $294.4 million, a decrease of 5% ($14.9 million) from 2016–17. Queensland contributed 9% of the total value of Australian fisheries production in 2017–18. In value terms, the wild-catch sector accounted for 61% ($180.2 million) of the state's total production and the aquaculture sector accounted for the remaining 39% ($114.2 million).

Queensland's wild-catch fisheries sector provides a range of fisheries products. The highest contribution being from Prawns and Coral Trouts. The GVP of wild-catch fisheries in Queensland decreased by 7% in 2017–18 to $180.2 million. Contributing to this decline was a decrease in the landed volume of Prawns (39% of total value of wild-catch; $70.1 million) and Coral Trouts (15% of total value of wild-catch; $27.1 million). The aggregate wild-caught GVP of Prawns, comprising mainly King Prawns, Tiger Prawns, Banana Prawns and Endeavour Prawns, decreased by 12% in 2017–18. The value of Coral Trouts decreased by 2% as a result of decreased catch.

The value of Queensland's aquaculture production decreased by 2% in 2017–18 to $114.2 million. This was largely due to a 4% decline in the GVP of Prawns to $74.7 million — down from $77.8 million in 2016–17; and lower production value of Barramundi, which declined by $1.5 million to $26.9 million. Prawns are Queensland’s biggest contributor to the aquaculture sector. The volume of aquaculture Prawns harvested for commercial purposes declined by 8% from 4,264 tonnes in 2016–17 to 3,921 tonnes in 2017–18. In 2016–17 prawn farms in the Logan River region of southern Queensland were destocked following an outbreak of White Spot Disease (McCarthy 2016; Mobsby & Curtotti 2019), with industry still rebuilding in 2017–18. In 2017–18 Queensland aquaculture production was dominated by Prawns and Barramundi, which together comprised 89% of GVP.

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 Tunas) and the Coral Sea Fishery.

In 2018–19, Queensland's fisheries product exports were valued at $185.8 million. Hong Kong and the China are the major destinations for Queensland fisheries exports, accounting for 29% and 21% of the total value of exports in 2018–19, respectively. Other major export destinations include Japan (15%) and United States of America (12%).

Recreational fishing is popular in Queensland. The results of the 2019–20 state wide and regional recreational fishing survey stated that 18.7% of Queensland’s population participated in recreational fishing in 2019 (approximately 943,000 people) (QDAF 2020). Total expenditure in the sector was 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. Popular target species include Crabs, Prawns and a range of Finfish species including Cods and Groupers, Coral Trouts, Redthroat Emperor and Mackerels. For freshwater activity some key species caught include Barramundi, Eels, Silver Perch and Yabbies.

Note: Where applicable the Australian Fish Names Standard AS SSA 5300-2019 is now used in this section. In this section standard fish names for groups of species or species families are not capitalised and employ the use of initial capital letters.

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 plantation species in Queensland is Dunns white gum (Eucalyptus dunnii). The main softwood plantation species in Queensland are Slash Pine hybrid (Pinus elliottii hybrid), Southern Pine hybrid (Pinus caribaea hybrid) and Hoop pines (Araucaria cunninghamii).

In 2016 there were 655,000 hectares of native forests in the Greater Brisbane region, comprised mainly of Eucalypt Medium Open (282,000 hectares), Other native forest (166,300 hectares) and Eucalypt Medium Woodland (99,700 hectares). The majority of the native forests were privately managed (427,000 hectares), while 127,700 hectares were in conservation reserves and 55,700 hectares were on multiple use public forest available for timber production.

Queensland state data

In 2017–18, the total plantation area in Queensland was 230,500 hectares, comprised of 34,800 hectares of hardwood plantations and 195,600 hectares of softwood plantations.

In 2016, Queensland had 77 sawmills (including 31 softwood sawmills), 3 post and pole processors, 6 wood-based panel processors and 2 paper and paperboard processors.

In 2016, there were 51.6 million hectares of native forests in Queensland, comprised mainly of Eucalypt Medium Woodland (27.1 million hectares), Melaleuca (5.1 million hectares) and Acacia (5.1 million hectares).

In 2017–18 the volume of native hardwood logs harvested in Queensland was 279 thousand cubic metres valued at $39.7 million. There were no plantation hardwood logs harvested in this period. The volume of softwood logs harvested was 2.9 million cubic metres valued at $257.6 million.

In 2017–18, the estimated sales and service income generated from the sale of wood products in Queensland was $2.6 billion. Sales and service income for paper and paper products is not available for 2017–18.

In 2016 the Queensland forestry sector employed 9,520 workers (0.45 per cent) of the total employed workforce in Queensland compared with 12,840 (0.63 per cent) in 2011. The number of people employed includes the following categories: forestry and logging, forestry support services, wood product manufacturing and pulp, paper and converted paper product manufacturing.


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 2020a, Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, Quarterly, May 2020, cat. no. 6291.0 Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra, accessed 30 June 2020.

ABS 2020b, Value of Agricultural Commodities Produced, Australia, 2018-19, cat. no. 7503.0 Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra, accessed 29 May 2020.

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

DEEDI 2011, Annual status report 2011 River and Inshore Beam Trawl Fishery (PDF 244 KB), Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, Queensland. 

Heaven, C 2018, Queensland Fisheries Summary (PDF 807 KB), Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Brisbane, Queensland

McCarthy, M 2016, White spot outbreak a ‘wake-up call’ for Australia’s biosecurity system, as prawn farmers claim imports are to blame, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 23 December 2019, accessed 15 October 2019. 

Mobsby, D & Curtotti, R 2019, ABARES annual fisheries outlook 2019, Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, Department of Agriculture, Canberra, accessed 5 October 2019.

QDAF 2020a, QFish, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Brisbane, Queensland.

QDAF 2020b, Statewide recreational Fishing Surveys, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Brisbane, Queensland.

QDAF 2013, Blue Swimmer Crab Fishery 2011 fishing year report (PDF 300 KB), Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Brisbane, Queensland. 

Schofield, R 2020, Ross Lobegeiger report to farmers Aquaculture production summary for Queensland 2018-19 (PDF 2.4 MB), Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Brisbane, Queensland.

Webley, J, McInnes, K, Teixeira, D, Lawson A & Quinn, R 2015, Statewide Recreational Fishing Survey 2013-14, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Brisbane, Queensland

Last reviewed: 13 January 2021
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