About my region – 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 Queensland and the recent Queensland financial performance of the broadacre, dairy and vegetable industries.

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Regional overview

Queensland covers a total area of around 1,728,100 square kilometres and is home to approximately 4,929,200 people (ABS 2018). Agricultural land in Queensland occupies 1,459,400 square kilometres, or around 84 per cent of the state. Areas classified as conservation and natural environments (nature conservation, protected areas and minimal use) occupy 215,400 square kilometres, or 12 per cent of the state. The most common land use by area is grazing native vegetation, which occupies 1,160,400 square kilometres or 67 per cent of the state (ABARES 2016).

Broad land use in Queensland
Shows a map Queensland covers a total area of around 1,730,648 square kilometres and is home to approximately 4,332,700 people (ABS 2011). Agricultural land in Queensland occupies 1,459,398 square kilometres, or around 84.33 per cent of the state. Areas classified as conservation and natural environments (nature conservation, protected areas and minimal use) occupy 215,429 square kilometres, or 12 per cent of the state. The most common land use by area is grazing native vegetation, which occupies 1,182,400 square kilometres or 87 per cent of the state.
Source: Catchment scale land use of Australia - Update December 2018

Employment

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data from the May 2020 Labour Force Survey indicate that around 2.5 million people were employed in Queensland.

Health care and social assistance was the largest employment sector with 355,600 people, followed by construction with 245,600 people, and retail trade with 232,600 people. Other important employment sectors in Queensland were education and training; professional, scientific and technical services; and accommodation and food services. The agriculture, forestry and fishing sector employed 80,200 people, representing 3 per cent of Queensland's workforce.

Employment profile, Queensland, May 2020
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 Queensland was $12.9 billion, which was 21 per cent of the total gross value of agricultural production in Australia ($60 billion).

The most important commodities in Queensland based on the gross value of agricultural production were cattle and calves ($5.8 billion), followed by sugarcane ($1.2 billion) and poultry ($587 million). These commodities together contributed 59 per cent of the total value of agricultural production in the state.

Value of agricultural production, Queensland, 2018–19
Shows Estimated value of agricultural operations (EVAO) is a measure of the value of production from farms and a measure of their business size. Around 38 per cent of farms in Queensland had an EVAO of less than $50,000. These farms accounted for only 3 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in 2014–15. In comparison, 7 per cent of farms in the state had an EVAO of more than $1 million and accounted for an estimated 52 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in Queensland in 2014–15. The figure is discussed in the previous paragraph.
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 17,348 farms in Queensland with an estimated value of agricultural operations of $40,000 or more. The state contains 22 per cent of all farm businesses in Australia.

Number of farms, by industry classification, Queensland, 2017–18
Industry classification Queensland Australia
Number of farms % of State Number of farms Contribution of Qld
to Australian total
%
Beef Cattle Farming (Specialised)        8,288 48        21,919 38
Sugar Cane Growing        2,939 17          3,303 89
Other Grain Growing           985 6          9,030 11
Grain-Sheep or Grain-Beef Cattle Farming           821 5          9,991 8
Other Fruit and Tree Nut Growing           761 4          1,601 48
Vegetable Growing (Outdoors)           639 4          2,545 25
Dairy Cattle Farming           423 2          5,384 8
Cotton Growing           347 2              781 44
Horse Farming           346 2          1,477 23
Sheep-Beef Cattle Farming           291 2          5,221 6
Other        1,508 9        17,770 8
Total agriculture     17,348 100        79,021 22

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. Beef cattle farms (8,288 farms) were the most common, accounting for 48 per cent of all 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 29 per cent of farms in Queensland had an EVAO between $50,000 and $150,000. These farms accounted for only 4 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in 2017–18. In comparison, 18 per cent of farms in the state had an EVAO of more than $1 million and accounted for an estimated 62 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in Queensland in 2017–18.

Distribution of farms by estimated value of agricultural operations, Queensland, 2017–18
Shows The most important commodities in Queensland based on the gross value of agricultural production were cattle and calves ($5 billion), followed by sugarcane ($1 billion) and Poultry ($588 million). These commodities together contributed 58 per cent of the total value of agricultural production in the state. The figure is discussed in the previous three paragraphs.
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

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 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.

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 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.

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 2020, Statewide Recreational Fishing Surveys, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Brisbane, Queensland, accessed 21 April 2020.

Last reviewed: 2 November 2020
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