About my region – Greater Hobart

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 Hobart region and the recent financial performance of the Tasmanian broadacre, dairy and vegetable industries.

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Regional overview

The Greater Hobart region of Tasmania is located in the south of the state and includes the city of Hobart and the surrounding region. The region includes the five local government areas of Brighton, Clarence, Glenorchy, Hobart, Sorell, parts of Derwent Valley, and Kingborough, the city of Hobart and the regional centres of New Norfolk and Richmond. The region covers a total area of around 1,695 square kilometres or 2.48 per cent of Tasmania's total area and is home to approximately 229,100 people (ABS 2018).

Agricultural land in the Greater Hobart region occupies approximately 730 square kilometres, or 44 per cent of the region. Areas classified as conservation and natural environments (nature conservation, protected areas and minimal use) occupy about 500 square kilometres, or 30 per cent of the region. The most common land use by area is grazing native vegetation, which occupies 330 square kilometres or 20 per cent of the Greater H​obart region (ABARES 2016).

Broad land use in the Greater Hobart region
Shows a map of broad land use in the Greater Hobart region Tasmania. 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 May 2020 Labour Force Survey indicate that around 115,900 people were employed in the Greater Hobart region. The Greater Hobart region accounts for 46 per cent of total employment in Tasmania and 16 per cent of all people employed in the Tasmanian agriculture, forestry and fishing sector.

Health care and social assistance was the largest employment sector with 18,600 people, followed by education and training with 12,900 people, and retail trade with 11,400 people. Other important employment sectors in the region were public administration and safety; accommodation and food services; and professional, scientific and technical services. The agriculture, forestry and fishing sector employed 2,600 people, representing 2 per cent of the region's workforce.

Employment profile, Greater Hobart region, 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 the Greater Hobart region was $55 million, which was 3 per cent of the total gross value of agricultural production in Tasmania ($1.6 billion).

The Greater Hobart region has a diverse agricultural sector. The most important commodities in the region based on the gross value of agricultural production were eggs ($8 million), followed by wine grapes ($5 million) and lettuces ($4 million). These commodities together contributed 31 per cent of the total value of agricultural production in the region.

Value of agricultural production, Greater Hobart region, 2018–19
Shows the gross value of agricultural production in the Greater Hobart region Tasmania 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 91 farms in the Greater Hobart region with an estimated value of agricultural operations of $40,000 or more. The region contains 5 per cent of all farm businesses in Tasmania.

Number of farms, by industry classification, Greater Hobart region, 2017–18
Industry classification Greater Hobart region Tasmania
Number of farms % of Region Number of farms Contribution of region to state total %
Sheep Farming (Specialised)  20 21.6  313 6.3
Grape Growing  11 12.5  45 25.2
Stone Fruit Growing  10 10.5  43 22.1
Beef Cattle Farming (Specialised)  9 9.3  518 1.6
Vegetable Growing (Outdoors)  7 7.6  245 2.8
Poultry Farming (Meat)  7 7.6  15 46.4
Horse Farming  5 5.5  31 16.1
Berry Fruit Growing  5 5.2  36 13.3
Sheep-Beef Cattle Farming  4 4.3  178 2.2
Other           14 15.8          555 2.6
Total agriculture           91 100      1,979 4.6

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. Sheep farms (20 farms) were the most common, accounting for 22 per cent of all farms in the Greater Hobart region, and 6 per cent of all sheep farms in Tasmania.

Estimated value of agricultural operations (EVAO) is a measure of the value of production from farms and a measure of their business size. Around 40 per cent of farms in the Greater Hobart region had an EVAO between $50,000 and $150,000. These farms accounted for 7 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in 2017–18. In comparison, 17 per cent of farms in the region had an EVAO of more than $1 million and accounted for an estimated 63 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in the Greater Hobart region in 2017–18.

Distribution of farms by estimated value of agricultural operations, Greater Hobart region, 2017–18
Shows share of farms and share of value of agricultural operations in the Greater Hobart region Tasmania. 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, dairy and vegetable farms in Tasmania.

Fisheries sector

Tasmania has a range of wild-catch Finfish, Crustacean, Mollusc and aquaculture fisheries production. Hobart is the main fishing port in Tasmania servicing fishers across a range of commercial fishing activities. Most notably, the region is home to 63% of all state wild-catch divers holding abalone licenses, alongside 41% of dive fishers, 37% of scalefish fishers and 27% of rock lobster fishers (Tasmanian Seafood Industry Council 2017). In terms of state catch, the oceans offshore from the region are an area of high catch concentration for several Finfish species including Bastard Trumpeter, Blue Warehou, Tiger Flathead, Southern Sand Flathead, Flounder, Jack Mackerel, Jackass Morwong, Leatherjacket, School Whitings and Wrasse (Moore et al 2019). In terms of Commonwealth catch, the region landed 3,831 tonnes in 2018–19, which was the largest in the state. The majority of this catch came from the Commonwealth Trawl Sector and the Gillnet Hook and Trap with landed species including Blue Grenadier (698 tonnes), Blue-Eye Trevalla (578 tonnes), Tiger Flathead (442 tonnes) and Pink Ling (358 tonnes).

Aquaculture is also a dominant industry in the region. Salmonid aquaculture is particularly prominent, being the largest aquaculture sector in Tasmania in terms of both production and value and with 71% of employees operating out of Hobart and the south-east region. Overall, the Salmonid industry employs 2,090 full-time equivalent employees, contributing 1.2% to Tasmania’s total employment (Tasmanian Seafood Industry Council 2017). Other aquaculture industries in the area include oyster and abalone farms operating out of Hobart and in the south-east.

Recreational fishing is popular amongst Hobart residents, with the stratum representing 91% of all fishing effort in Derwent estuary, 90% of effort in Norfolk-Frederick Henry Bay, 78% of effort on the wider south east coast and 35% on the central east coast. The two main recreational fishing areas in the region: Derwent Estuary and Norfolk-Frederick Henry Bay were the location of 11% of the total state-wide recreational effort in both marine and freshwater areas. Commonly caught species include Flathead, Rock Lobster, Flounder catch and Black Bream (Lyle et al 2019).

Tasmania state data

In 2017–18 the gross value product (GVP) of Tasmanian fisheries and aquaculture is estimated to be around $1.07 billion, an increase of 13% ($121 million) from 2016–17. Tasmania contributed 34% of the total value of Australian fisheries production in 2017–18. In value terms, the wild-catch sector accounted for 18% ($194.3 million) of the state's total production and the aquaculture sector accounted for the remaining 82% ($873.5 million).

Tasmania's wild-catch fisheries sector is dominated by two main products, Southern Rock Lobster and Abalone, which account for 50% and 44.5%, respectively, of the total value of wild-caught production in 2017–18. Tasmanian wild-catch GVP increased by 10% to $194.3 million in 2017–18. Southern Rock Lobster production value increased by 17% to $97.1 million as result of higher catch and increased average prices. In contrast, Abalone catch decreased in 2017–18 due to reductions in Total Allowable Catch (TAC). However, GVP increased by 3% to $86.4 million, reflecting an increase in average prices and demand for Abalone. Tasmania has recently introduced a new Seaweed fishery. While only a minor contributor to GVP at present, the sector may grow in importance over time.

Over the past decade the real value of Tasmania’s aquaculture production increased by 118%, reaching $873.5 million in 2017–18. This growth is mainly attributed to increases in the output of farmed Salmonid species, in particular, Atlantic Salmon. In 2017–18, the GVP of aquaculture in Tasmania increased by 13%. Salmonids are the major aquaculture product of Tasmania, accounting for 96% of total aquaculture production in that state. In 2017–18 Salmonids production value increased by 13% to $838.3 million, which was driven by a 17% increase in production volume. The increase in production volume was likely partially due to destocking of Tasmania’s Macquarie Harbour in late 2017 because of an outbreak of Pilchard Orthomyxovirus (POMV) (Street & Dunlevie 2018). In 2017–18 aquaculture Abalone had the highest relative production value increase (up 36% on 2016–17) and the Abalone aquaculture industry expanded, supported by higher prices (reflecting continued demand for Abalone from the Chinese market).

Commonwealth fisheries active in the Tasmania region include the Commonwealth Trawl Sector (main source of domestic fresh fish for Sydney and Melbourne markets) and the Shark Gillnet, Hook and Trap Sector (supplies Gummy Shark or 'flake' to Melbourne) of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery. The Bass Strait Central Zone Scallop Fishery and Small Pelagic Fishery (mostly fishmeal for aquaculture and agriculture) also operate in the waters off Tasmania.
In 2018–19, Tasmanian fisheries product exports were valued at $219.8 million and were dominated by exported Salmonids. China, Indonesia and Singapore are the major destinations for Tasmanian fisheries exports, accounting for 73%, 6% and 4% of the total value of exports in 2018–19, respectively.

Recreational fishing is popular in Tasmania with an estimated 106,000 Tasmanian residents (5 years and over) participating in the activity in the 12 months prior to October 2017, representing 24% of the total population (Lyle et al 2019). In its survey of recreational fishers in Tasmania found that half of the state’s fishing effort is directed to South East region. The key species caught by recreational fishers include Flathead, Australian Salmon, Trout, Gurnards, Wrasse, Southern Calamari, Gould’s Squid and Rock Lobster.

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 Hobart region was 4,300 hectares, comprised of 3,100 hectares of hardwood plantations, 800 hectares of softwood plantations and 400 hectares of other plantations. The main hardwood species planted are blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus) and shining gum (Eucalyptus nitens). The main softwood species planted is radiata pine (Pinus radiata).

In 2016, there were 71,900 hectares of native forests in the Greater Hobart region, comprised mainly of Eucalypt medium woodland forest (52,500 hectares), Eucalypt tall open forest (8,200 hectares), Eucalypt medium open forest (4,500 hectares) and Eucalypt tall woodland forest (3,600 hectares). The majority of native forests were privately owned (47,700 hectares), while 4,600 hectares were in multiple-use public forests and 14,600 hectares were in nature conservation reserves. Major timber processing industries are located in Boyer and Forcett.

In 2016, the forestry sector in Greater Hobart employed 594 persons (0.6 per cent of all persons employed in Greater Hobart), compared with 846 persons (0.9 per cent) in 2011. The number of persons employed includes in the following subsectors combined: forestry and logging; forestry support services; wood product manufacturing; and pulp, paper and converted paper product manufacturing.

Tasmania state data

In 2016–17, the total plantation area in Tasmania was 309,900 hectares, comprised of 233,900 hectares of hardwood plantations and 75,900 hectares of softwood plantations.

In 2016, Tasmania had 30 sawmills (including three softwood sawmills), two post and pole processors, five wood-based panel processors, and one paper and paperboard processor. Tasmania’s has the most log and woodchip export facilities (nine in total) nationally. All these processors are located throughout Tasmania. The major timber processing centres include Bell Bay, Boyer, Launceston, and Smithton. The principal ports exporting forest products are located at Bell Bay, Burnie and Hobart.

In 2016–17, the estimated sales and service income generated from the sale of wood products in Tasmania was $374 million. Sales and service income for paper and paper products is not available for 2016–17.

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.

Lyle, J.M., Stark, K.E., Ewing, G.P. & Tracey, S.R. 2019, 2017-18 survey of recreational fishing in Tasmania (PDF 2.2MB), Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania.

Moore, B, Lyle, J & Hartmann, K 2019 Tasmanian scalefish fishery assessment 2017/18 (PDF 4MB), IMAS Fisheries and Aquaculture, Hobart, Tasmania.

Street, E & Dunlevie, J 2018, Macquarie Harbour salmon: 1.35 million fish deaths prompt call to ‘empty’ waterway of farms, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 29 May 2018, accessed 27 October 2019.

Tasmanian Seafood Industry Council 2017, Seafood Industry Workforce Profile (PDF 5.1MB), Tasmanian Seafood Industry Council.

Last reviewed: 31 July 2020
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