About my region — Greater Sydney 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 Greater Sydney region and the recent financial performance of the New South Wales broadacre, dairy and vegetable industries.

[expand all]

Regional overview

The Greater Sydney region comprises 36 local government areas. It includes the major centres of Sydney, Richmond, Katoomba, Camden and the central coast. The region covers a total area of around 12,300 square kilometres or 2 per cent of New South Wales and is home to approximately 5.1 million people (ABS 2018a).

Agricultural land in the Greater Sydney region occupies 2,300 square kilometres, or 18 per cent of the region. Areas classified as conservation and natural environments (nature conservation, protected areas and minimal use) occupy 7,100 square kilometres, or 57 per cent of the region. The most common land use by area is nature conservation, which occupies 6,200 square kilometres or 50 per cent of the Greater Sydney region (ABARES 2016).

Broad land use in the Greater Sydney region
Shows a map of broad land use in the New South Wales - Greater Sydney 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 August 2019 Labour Force Survey indicate that around 2.8 million people were employed in the Greater Sydney region. The region accounts for 68 per cent of total employment in New South Wales and 11 per cent of all people employed in the New South Wales agriculture, forestry, and fishing sector.

Professional, scientific and technical services was the largest employment sector with 344,400 people, followed by health care and social assistance with 335,700 people, and retail trade with 279,700 people. Other important employment sectors in the region were construction; education and training; and accommodation and food services. The agriculture, forestry, and fishing sector employed 10,200 people, representing less than 1 per cent of the region's workforce.

Employment profile, Greater Sydney region, August 2019
Shows the number of people employed in the Greater Sydney 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 2016–17, the gross value of agricultural production in the Greater Sydney region was $828 million, which was 6 per cent of the total gross value of agricultural production in New South Wales of $14.5 billion.

The Greater Sydney region has a diverse agricultural sector. The most important commodities in the region based on the gross value of agricultural production were poultry ($271 million), followed by nurseries ($140 million), and mushrooms ($92 million). These commodities together contributed 61 per cent of the total value of agricultural production in the region.

Value of agricultural production, Greater Sydney region, 2016–17
Shows the gross value of agricultural production in the Greater Sydney region in millions of dollars. The figure is discussed in the previous two 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 2018

Number and type of farms

ABS data indicate that in 2016–17 there were 1,309 farms in the Greater Sydney region with an estimated value of agricultural operations of $40,000 or more. The region contains 5 per cent of all farm businesses in New South Wales.

Number of farms, by industry classification, Greater Sydney region, 2016–17
Industry classificationGreater Sydney regionNew South Wales
Number of farms% of RegionNumber of farmsContribution of region to state total %
Vegetable Growing (Outdoors)39129.963661.4
Poultry Farming (Meat)15611.930750.7
Horse Farming13010.077916.7
Nursery Production (Outdoors)1037.819153.6
Vegetable Growing (Under Cover)725.510171.7
Beef Cattle Farming (Specialised)665.06,9680.9
Nursery Production (Under Cover)574.414140.7
Floriculture Production (Under Cover)534.06976.3
Turf Growing513.99652.6
Floriculture Production (Outdoors)372.89638.8
Poultry Farming (Eggs)292.210827.0
Citrus Fruit Growing251.93646.9
Dairy Cattle Farming251.99022.7
Other Crop Growing nec221.712817.5
Other927.015,1380.6
Total agriculture 1,309 100 26,024 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. nec Not elsewhere classified.
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018

Farms in the table above are classified according to the activities that generate most of their value of production. Vegetable growing (outdoors) farms (391 farms) were the most common, accounting for 30 per cent of all farms in the Greater Sydney region, and 61 per cent of all outdoor vegetable growing 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 35 per cent of farms in the Greater Sydney region had an EVAO between $50,000 and $150,000. These farms accounted for only 5 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in 2016–17. In comparison, 21 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 Sydney region in 2016–17.

Distribution of farms by estimated value of agricultural operations, Greater Sydney region, 2016–17
Shows share of farms and share of value of agricultural operations in the Greater Sydney 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 2018

Farm financial performance

Estimates of financial performance are available for all broadacre, beef, sheep, grains, dairy and vegetable farms in New South Wales.

Fisheries sector

Sydney is one of the key commercial fishing ports and it is the second largest port for the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery after Mooloolaba. The Sydney Fish Markets is Australia's largest seafood market. The Commonwealth Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery operate in the waters off NSW targeting albacore, bigeye, and yellowfin tuna as well as swordfish and striped marlin. The Commonwealth trawl sector of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark fishery provides a range of finfish for sale through the Sydney Fish Markets, including blue grenadier, tiger flathead, and silver warehou. The state fisheries include the fish trawling sector targeting silver trevally, tiger flathead, southern calamari, school whiting, and a number of shark and ray species. The Ocean Prawn Trawl Fishery operates along the entire coast of NSW harvesting school and eastern king prawns and school whiting. The Estuary Prawn Trawl Fishery harvests school and eastern king prawns in the Hawkesbury River. Another state fishery that operates in the region is the Ocean Trap and Line targeting a number of finfish species, including: snapper, yellowtail kingfish, leatherjackets, bonito, and silver trevally. Aquaculture production in this area includes oysters, barramundi, and ornamental fish species. A large number of recreational fishers fish in the Greater Sydney area. Species commonly targeted in the area include yellowfin bream, dusky flathead, yellowtail, blue swimmer crab, squid, and southern calamari (Steffe & Murphy 2011). The Tuggerah and Budgewoi lakes are also popular fishing areas for bream, flathead, and luderick.

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).

Forestry sector

In 2014–15 the most recent year for which regional data are available, the total plantation area in the Greater Sydney region was about 900 hectares, comprised of 860 hectares of hardwood plantations and less than 100 hectares of softwood plantations. The main hardwood plantation species in New South Wales are Dunns white gum (Eucalyptus dunnii), blackbutt (Eucalyptus pilularis) and shining gum (Eucalyptus nitens). The main softwood plantation species in New South Wales are radiata pine (Pinus radiata) and other pine species (various).

In 2016 there were about 879,600 hectares of native forests in the Greater Sydney region, comprised mainly of Eucalypt Medium Woodland (377,600 hectares), Eucalypt Medium Open (310,700 hectares) and Eucalypt Tall Open (64,800 hectares). The majority of the native forests were in conservation reserves (601,100 hectares), while 186,000 hectares were privately managed and 67,800 hectares were on Crown land. There were 23,800 hectares on multiple use native forest available for wood 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.

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

ABS 2018b Value of Agricultural Commodities Produced, Australia, 2016-17, cat. no 7503.0 Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra, accessed 03 April 2019.

ABS 2019 Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, Quarterly, August 2019, cat. no. 6291.0 Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra, accessed 15 October 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.




Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
Thanks for your feedback.
Thanks! Your feedback has been submitted.

We aren't able to respond to your individual comments or questions.
To contact us directly phone us or submit an online inquiry

Please verify that you are not a robot.

Skip