About my region – Geelong Victoria

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 Geelong region and the recent financial performance of the Victorian broadacre, dairy, and vegetable industries.

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Regional overview

The Geelong region of Victoria is located in the south of the state and encompasses the south–west corner of Port Phillip Bay. The region comprises the three local government areas of Greater Geelong, Queenscliffe and Surf Coast, part of Golden Plains, and the major regional centre of Geelong. The region covers a total area of around 4,400 square kilometres or 2 per cent of Victoria's total area and is home to approximately 294,000 people (ABS 2018).

Agricultural land in the Geelong region occupies 3,100 square kilometres, or 70 per cent of the region. Areas classified as conservation and natural environments (nature conservation, protected areas and minimal use) also occupy 840 square kilometres, or 19 per cent of the region. The most common land use by area is grazing modified pasture, which occupies 2,000 square kilometres or 45 per cent of the Geelong region (ABARES 2016).

Broad land use in the Geelong region
Shows a map of broad land use in the Geelong 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


Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data from the November 2019 Labour Force Survey indicate that around 148,800 people were employed in the Geelong region. The region accounts for 4 per cent of total employment in Victoria and 3 per cent of all people employed in the Victorian agriculture, forestry and fishing sector.

Health care and social assistance was the largest employment sector with 22,500 people, followed by retail trade with 19,000 people, and construction with 17,900 people. Other important employment sectors in the region were education and training; public administration and safety; and manufacturing. The agriculture, forestry and fishing sector employed 2,600 people, representing 2 per cent of the region's workforce.

Employment profile, Geelong region, November 2019
Shows the number of people employed in the Geelong 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 2017–18, the gross value of agricultural production in the Geelong region was $495 million, which was 3 per cent of the total gross value of agricultural production in Victoria ($15 billion).

The Geelong region has a diverse agricultural sector. The most important commodities in the region based on the gross value of agricultural production were poultry ($111 million), followed by sheep and lambs ($98 million) and wool ($67 million). These commodities together contributed 56 per cent of the total value of agricultural production in the region.

Value of agricultural production, Geelong region, 2017–18
Shows the gross value of agricultural production in the region 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 2019

Number and type of farms

ABS data indicate that in 2017–18 there were 551 farms in the Geelong region with an estimated value of agricultural operations of $40,000 or more. The region contains 3 per cent of all farm businesses in Victoria.

Number of farms, by industry classification, Geelong region, 2017–18
Industry classification Geelong region Victoria
Number of farms % of region Number of farms Contribution of region to state total %
Sheep Farming (Specialised)        136 24.6      2,945 4.6
Beef Cattle Farming (Specialised)        110 20.0      4,975 2.2
Grain-Sheep or Grain-Beef Cattle Farming           95 17.3      1,956 4.9
Other Grain Growing           62 11.2      1,986 3.1
Olive Growing           30 5.5            52 57.9
Sheep-Beef Cattle Farming           21 3.8      1,286 1.6
Poultry Farming (Meat)           17 3.0          149 11.2
Grape Growing           10 1.8          557 1.8
Vegetable Growing (Outdoors)           10 1.8          443 2.2
Vegetable Growing (Under cover)           10 1.8          31 32
Poultry Farming (Eggs)           10 1.8            93 10.4
Other 40 7.3 5,264 0.8
Total agriculture        551 100    19,739 2.8

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 2019

Farms in the table above are classified according to the activities that generate most of their value of production. Sheep farms (136 farms) were the most common, accounting for 25 per cent of all farms in the Geelong region, and 5 per cent of all sheep farms in Victoria.

Estimated value of agricultural operations (EVAO) is a measure of the value of production from farms and a measure of their business size. Around 23 per cent of farms in the Geelong region had an EVAO between $50,000 and $150,000. These farms accounted for only 3 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 60 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in the Geelong region in 2017–18.

Distribution of farms by estimated value of agricultural operations, Geelong region, 2017–18
Shows share of farms and share of value of agricultural operations in the Geelong region. 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 Victoria.

Fisheries sector

The Geelong region has an extensive seafood industry including wild–catch and aquaculture, and seafood processing handling finfish, abalone, scallops, squid, and bait and bait products. The region is well connected to the Melbourne wholesale and retail market, particularly through the Melbourne Seafood Centre, the main wholesale retail market place for fresh seafood in the region. Corio Bay and the Bellarine Peninsula are the key areas for the harvest of seaweed, sea urchins and sea cucumbers. Port Phillip Bay is the main commercial fishing location for King George whiting.

In the 2000 National Recreational and Indigenous Fishing Survey, the region recorded a participation rate of 15 per cent, slightly higher than the state average of 12.7 per cent (Henry & Lyle 2003). Nearby Port Phillip Bay and adjacent coastal waters are the main fishing grounds where Geelong residents fish and are the most popular fishing grounds in Victoria. Flathead, Australian salmon, King George whiting, garfish and squid are the most common species targeted by fishers. Within Port Phillip Bay, most fishing is done from boats but in the coastal waters fishing effort is divided equally between boat and shore fishing.

The area has a significant aquaculture industry. The area is one of Australia's largest mussel growing areas (mostly blue mussels) with production focused in Port Philip Bay, which is also the location of abalone farms. Some land based abalone and barramundi aquaculture farms are also located in the area.

In 2015–16 the gross value of Victoria's fisheries production (both aquaculture and wild–catch) was $86 million, a decrease of 3 per cent ($2.4 million) from 2014–15. Victoria contributed 3 per cent of the total value of Australian fisheries production in 2015–16. In value terms, the wild–catch sector accounted for 68 per cent ($57.8 million) of the state's total production and the aquaculture sector accounted for the remaining 32 per cent ($27.6 million).

Victoria's wild–catch fisheries sector is dominated by two main products—abalone and Southern rock lobster—which account for 34 per cent and 42 per cent, respectively, of the total value of wild-caught production in 2015–16. Over the last decade the real value of Victoria's wild-caught fisheries products has reduced by 42 per cent to $57.8 million in 2015–16.

The product for which the real value of production declined most over the past decade is wild—caught abalone, falling by 70 per cent to $19.7 million in 2015–16. This is largely attributable to the Abalone Viral Ganglioneuritis disease which has significantly reduced abalone production in the Victorian wild–catch sector in recent years. A large proportion of abalone is exported, mostly to Hong Kong, China and Japan. Exchange rate movements have a significant effect on the value of abalone exports and, in turn, production.

Commonwealth fisheries active in the waters off Victoria include the Commonwealth Trawl Sector (main source of domestic fresh fish for Sydney and Melbourne markets) and the Shark Gillnet and Shark Hook Sectors (supplies gummy shark or 'flake' to Melbourne) of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery. The Bass Strait Central Zone Scallop Fishery, Small Pelagic Fishery (mostly fishmeal for aquaculture and agriculture) and the Southern Squid Jig Fishery also operate in the waters off Victoria.
In 2015–16 the volume of Victoria's aquaculture production was 2,670 tonnes. Salmonids, blue mussels and abalone accounted for 50 per cent, 29 per cent and 12 per cent respectively of this volume and 40 per cent, 12 per cent and 40 per cent respectively of the total value of Victorian aquaculture production in 2015–16.

In 2015–16, fisheries products exported from Victoria were valued at $193 million. This value includes State and Commonwealth fisheries products exported from the ports of Victoria, which may be sourced from Victorian waters or other parts of the country. The main export products include abalone and Southern rock lobster. Vietnam, Hong Kong and Singapore are the major destinations for Victorian fisheries exports, accounting for 53 per cent, 14 per cent and 7 per cent of the total value of exports in 2015–16, respectively. Other major export destinations include Japan (6 per cent) and China (4 per cent).

Recreational fishing is popular in Victoria. In the national survey of recreational fishers undertaken in the early 2000s it was found that Victoria had approximately 550,000 recreational fishers that fished in the 12 months to May 2000, an estimated 12.7 per cent of Victoria's population (Henry & Lyle 2003). This includes gamefishing for species such as southern bluefin tuna (Green et al 2012). Recreational fishing also includes diving for Southern rock lobster, abalone, and scallops and hook and line fishing for a range of finfish species, such as snapper, King George whiting, black bream and flathead. Freshwater anglers target rainbow and brown trout, as well as native freshwater fish.

Forestry sector

In 2014–15 the most recent year for which regional data are available, the total plantation area in the Geelong region was about 3,900 hectares, comprised of 2,060 hectares of hardwood plantations and 1,840 hectares of softwood plantations. The main hardwood plantation species in Victoria are Tasmanian blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus) and shining gum (Eucalyptus nitens). The main softwood plantation species in Victoria is radiata pine (Pinus radiata).

In 2016 there were about 66,900 hectares of native forests in the Geelong region, comprised mainly of Eucalypt Medium Open (36,400 hectares), Eucalypt Medium Woodland (19,300 hectares) and Eucalypt Tall Open (7,000 hectares). The majority of the native forests were in conservation reserves (34,200 hectares), while 16,900 hectares were privately managed and 15,200 hectares were on Crown land. 600 hectares were in multiple use native forest available for wood production.

Victoria state data

In 2017–18, the total plantation area in Victoria was 420,600 hectares, comprised of 196,300 hectares of hardwood plantations and 223,400 hectares of softwood plantations.

In 2016, Victoria had 34 sawmills (including 9 softwood sawmills), 8 post and pole processors, 3 wood based panel processors and 5 paper and paperboard processors.

In 2016, there were 7.6 million hectares of native forests in Victoria, comprised mainly of Eucalypt Medium Open (3.1 million hectares), Eucalypt Tall Open (1.4 million hectares) and Eucalypt Mallee Woodland (1.3 million hectares).

In 2017–18, the volume of native hardwood logs harvested in Victoria was 1.2 million cubic metres, valued at $103.5 million. The volume of plantation hardwood logs harvested in Victoria was 3.6 million cubic metres, valued at $262.3 million. The volume of plantation softwood logs harvested in Victoria was 4.3 million cubic metres, valued at $341.5 million.

In 2017–18, the estimated sales and service income generated from the sale of wood products in Victoria was $3.6 billion.  Sales and service income for paper and paper products is not available for 2017–18.

In 2016, the Victoria forestry sector employed 15,105 workers (0.60 per cent of the total employed workforce in Victoria) compared with 20,167 (0.74 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.

Green, C, Brown, P, Giri K, Bell, J & Conron, S 2012, Quantifying the recreational catch of southern bluefin tuna off the Victorian coast, Recreational Fishing Grants Program research report R09/10/03, Department of Primary Industries, Melbourne, Victoria.

Henry, GW & Lyle JM (eds) 2003, The National Recreational and Indigenous Fishing Survey. Final report to the Fisheries Research & Development Corporation, NSW Fisheries final report series, no. 48, FRDC project no. 99/158, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Canberra.

Last reviewed: 21 January 2020
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