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 November 2019 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 364,000 people, followed by retail trade with 245,500 people, and construction with 245,400 people. Other important employment sectors in Queensland were education and training; accommodation and food services; and professional, scientific and technical services. The agriculture, forestry and fishing sector employed 76,200 people, representing 3 per cent of Queensland's workforce.

Employment profile, Queensland, November 2019
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 Queensland was $13 billion, which was 23 per cent of the total gross value of agricultural production in Australia ($59 billion).

The most important commodities in Queensland based on the gross value of agricultural production were cattle and calves ($5.5 billion), followed by sugarcane ($1.2 billion) and cotton ($882 million). These commodities together contributed 57 per cent of the total value of agricultural production in the state.

Value of agricultural production, Queensland, 2017–18
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 2019

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 2015–16 the total gross value of Queensland's fisheries production was $291.1 million, a decrease of 1 per cent ($2.1 million) from 2014–15. Queensland contributed 10 per cent of the total value of Australian fisheries production in 2015–16. In value terms, the wild-catch sector accounted for 60 per cent ($175.9 million) of the state's total production and the aquaculture sector accounted for the remaining 40 per cent ($118.3 million).

Queensland's wild-catch fisheries sector provides a range of fisheries products. The highest contribution being from prawns, which account for 36 per cent of the total value of wild-catch fisheries production with a value of $62.7 million, followed by coral trout (15 per cent; $26.8 million) and crabs (14 per cent; $24.2 million). Over the last decade the real value of Queensland's wild-caught fisheries products has reduced by 37 per cent. Prawns, snapper and shark, showed the largest decline in the value of production over the past decade, reducing by 35 per cent, 77 per cent and 66 per cent respectively. Competition from imported prawns in the domestic market has also placed significant downward pressure on prices in recent years.

The value of Queensland's aquaculture production has increased by 4 per cent in 2015–16 to $118.3 million. Prawn and barramundi farming account for the largest share of production by value, with prawns accounting for 68 per cent, and $80.5 million of production, followed by barramundi (25 per cent; $29.3 million).

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 tuna) and the Coral Sea Fishery.

In 2015–16, Queensland's fisheries product exports were valued at $199.6 million. The main export products include live and fresh, chilled or frozen fish, prawns and rock lobster. Hong Kong, Japan and the United States are the major destinations for Queensland fisheries exports, accounting for 42 per cent, 17 per cent and 14 per cent of the total value of exports in 2015–16, respectively. Other major export destinations include China (7 per cent) and Vietnam (4 per cent).

Recreational fishing is popular in Queensland. The results of the 2013–14 state wide and regional recreational fishing survey report that recreational fishing continues to be a popular activity; however the participation rate has dropped from 17 per cent in 2010 to 15 per cent in 2013. In the 12 months prior to November 2013 approximately 700,000 Queenslanders went recreational fishing (QDAF 2015). Total expenditure in the sector is 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 and Australia. Popular target species include crabs, prawns and a range of finfish species including cods and groupers, coral trout, redthroat emperor, rosy snapper, and mackerel. For freshwater activity some key species caught include barramundi, eels, silver perch, and yabby and blueclaw crayfish.

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 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.

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

QDAF 2015, Statewide Recreational Fishing Surveys, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Brisbane, Queensland.

Last reviewed: 21 January 2020
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