About my region – Newcastle and Lake Macquarie New South Wales
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 fisheries sectors in the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie region and the recent New South Wales financial performance of the broadacre, dairy and vegetable industries.
The Newcastle and Lake Macquarie region of New South Wales is located in the urbanised coastal area around the city of Newcastle, north of Sydney. The region includes the local government areas of Newcastle and Lake Macquarie, and small parts of the Port Stephens and Maitland local government areas to the north. The region covers a total area of around 860 square kilometres or less than 1 per cent of New South Wales and is home to approximately 372,300 people (ABS 2018).
Agricultural land in the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie region occupies 290 square kilometres, or 34 per cent of the region. Areas classified as conservation and natural environments (nature conservation, protected areas and minimal use) occupy 220 square kilometres, or 26 per cent of the region. The most common land use by area is grazing native vegetation uses, which occupies 200 square kilometres or 24 per cent of the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie region (ABARES 2016).
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data from the November 2019 Labour Force Survey indicate that around 201,500 people were employed in the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie region. The region accounts for 5 per cent of total employment in New South Wales and 1 per cent of all people employed in the New South Wales agriculture, forestry and fishing sector.
Health care and social assistance was the largest employment sector with 41,400 people, followed by construction with 23,000 people, and retail trade with 20,800 people. Other important employment sectors in the region were education and training; accommodation and food services; and professional, scientific and technical services. The agriculture, forestry and fishing sector employed 500 people, representing less than 1 per cent of the region's workforce.
Value of agricultural production
In 2017–18, the gross value of agricultural production in the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie region was $18 million, which was less than 1 per cent of the total gross value of agricultural production in New South Wales ($13 billion).
The most important commodities in the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie region based on the gross value of agricultural production were poultry ($8 million), followed by eggs ($5 million) and cut flowers ($3 million). These commodities together contributed 87 per cent of the total value of agricultural production in the region.
Number and type of farms
ABS data indicate that in 2017–18 there were 15 farms in the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie region with an estimated value of agricultural operations of $40,000 or more. The region contains less than 1 per cent of all farm businesses in New South Wales.
|Industry classification||Newcastle and Lake Macquarie region||New South Wales|
|Number of farms||% of Region||Number of farms||Contribution of region to state total %|
|Floriculture Production (Under Cover)||5||31.8||53||9.3|
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 2019
Farms in the table above are classified according to the activities that generate most of their value of production. Floriculture production (under cover) (5 farms) were the most common, accounting for 32 per cent of all farms in the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie region, and 9 per cent of all floriculture production (under cover) farms in New South Wales.
Estimated value of agricultural operations (EVAO) is a measure of the value of production from farms and a measure of their business size. Around 29 per cent of farms in the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie region had an EVAO from $150,000 to $350,000. These farms accounted for only 3 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in 2017–18. In comparison, 42 per cent of farms in the region had an EVAO of more than $1 million and accounted for an estimated 82 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie region in 2017–18.
Farm financial performance
Estimates of financial performance are available for all broadacre, beef, sheep, grains, dairy and vegetable farms in New South Wales.
Major ports for commercial fishing in the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie region include Newcastle and Swansea. Species caught by commercial fishers in the area include prawns, eastern rock lobster, bugs, a range of finfish, and blue swimmer crabs. Recreational fishing occurs in the coastal waters and also in Lake Macquarie. Common species caught by recreational fishers are whiting, luderick, blue swimmer crab, yellowfin bream, dusky flathead, and tailor.
In 2015–16 the gross value of New South Wales fisheries production was estimated to be around $156 million, increasing by 4 per cent ($6 million) from 2014–15. New South Wales contributed 5 per cent of the total value of Australian fisheries production in 2015–16. In value terms, the wild-catch sector accounted for 58 per cent ($91 million) of the state's total production and the aquaculture sector accounted for the remaining 42 per cent ($65 million).
New South Wales wild-catch fisheries provide a range of fisheries products. In 2015–16, finfish species contributed 47 per cent of the wild-catch production, valued at $43 million. The main finfish species landed were sea mullet, with a gross value of production of $9.6 million, followed by black and yellowfin bream ($3.6 million), school whiting ($2.8 million), snapper ($2.0 million), and sand whiting ($1.5 million). Prawns contributed 19 per cent of the total value of wild-catch fisheries with a value of $17.3 million, with other important crustacean groups being eastern rock lobster (13 per cent; $11.8 million), and crabs (10 per cent; $9.5 million).
In 2015–16 the value of New South Wales aquaculture production is estimated to have increased by 7 per cent ($4.2 million) to $65 million. Oyster production makes the greatest contribution to New South Wales aquaculture production, accounting for 68 per cent of production by value, worth $44.3 million. Prawns ($6.0 million) and finfish aquaculture species, including silver perch ($3 million), trout ($2.3 million), and barramundi ($1.0 million) make up most of the remaining aquaculture production.
Commonwealth fisheries active in New South Wales include the Small Pelagic Fishery, the Eastern Tuna and Billfish fishery (mainly supplying export markets with tuna), and the Commonwealth trawl sector of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark fishery.
In 2015–16, New South Wales fisheries product exports were valued at $23.3 million. The main export products include live and fresh, chilled or frozen fish, rock lobster, and abalone. Japan and Vietnam, are the major destinations for New South Wales fisheries exports, accounting for 45 per cent and 13 per cent of the total value of exports in 2015–16, respectively. Other major export destinations include New Zealand (9 per cent), Spain (5 per cent), and Taiwan (5 per cent).
The New South Wales coast line is an important recreational fishing area, with a multitude of inlets and estuaries from which to fish. Being a tourism precinct, the region offers a number of recreational fishing opportunities, with the value of this activity to the regional economy likely to be significant. There are also a range of game fishing tournaments throughout the year, including in the Bermagui and Port Stephens area, targeting tuna and marlin species. New South Wales also contains a number of recreational only fishing areas, especially in the far south coast of New South Wales, a popular destination for both marine and freshwater recreational fishers. A large number of recreational fishers also fish in the Greater Sydney area, stretching from Newcastle to the Illawarra area, and comprising the city areas of Newcastle, Sydney, and Wollongong. Species commonly targeted in the area include yellowfin bream, dusky flathead, yellowtail, blue swimmer crab, squid, and southern calamari (Steffe & Murphy 2011).
In 2014–15 there were less than 100 hectares of plantation area in the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie region.
In 2016 there were about 47,100 hectares of native forests in the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie region, comprised mainly of Eucalypt Medium Open (25,900 hectares), Other native forest (7,800 hectares) and Eucalypt Tall Open (7,300 hectares). The majority of the native forests were privately managed (27,300 hectares), while 9,800 hectares were in conservation reserves and 5,100 hectares were on multiple use public forest available for timber production.
New South Wales state data
In 2017–18, the total plantation area in New South Wales was 393,200 hectares, comprised of 87,100 hectares of hardwood plantations and 306,000 hectares of softwood plantations.
In 2016, New South Wales had 85 sawmills (including 17 softwood sawmills), 2 post and pole processors, 7 wood based panel processors and 5 paper and paperboard processors.
In 2016, there were 19.9 million hectares of native forests in New South Wales, comprised mainly of Eucalypt Medium Woodland (6.0 million hectares), Eucalypt Medium Open (4.7 million hectares) and Eucalypt Tall Open (2.3 million hectares).
In 2017–18, the volume of native hardwood logs harvested in New South Wales was 977,000 cubic metres, valued at $128.5 million. The volume of plantation hardwood logs harvested in New South Wales was 254,000 cubic metres, valued at $21.9 million. The volume of plantation softwood logs harvested in New South Wales was 5.0 million cubic metres, valued at $393.5 million.
In 2017–18, the estimated sales and service income generated from the sale of wood products in New South Wales was $4.7 billion and for paper and paper products was $4.0 billion.
In 2016, the New South Wales forestry sector employed 16,396 workers (0.52 per cent of the total employed workforce in New South Wales) compared with 21,082 (0.62 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 2019a Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, Quarterly, November 2019, cat. no. 6291.0 Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra, accessed 15 January 2020.
ABS 2019b Value of Agricultural Commodities Produced, Australia, 2017-18, cat. no. 7503.0 Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra, accessed 15 May 2019.
Steffe, AS & Murphy, JJ 2011, Recreational fishing surveys in the Greater Sydney Region. Fisheries final report series, no. 131, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Cronulla, New South Wales.