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

Employment

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data from the May 2020 Labour Force Survey indicate that around 151,500 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 22,700 people, followed by construction with 19,100 people, and education and training with 17,000 people. Other important employment sectors in the region were retail trade; public administration and safety; and manufacturing. The agriculture, forestry and fishing sector employed 2,700 people, representing 2 per cent of the region's workforce.

Employment profile, Geelong region, May 2020
geelong_empl_2020may.png
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 Geelong region was $656 million, which was 4 per cent of the total gross value of agricultural production in Victoria ($15.9 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 ($249 million), followed by sheep and lambs ($95 million) and wool ($70 million). These commodities together contributed 63 per cent of the total value of agricultural production in the region.

Value of agricultural production, Geelong region, 2018–19

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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 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. Port Phillip Bay is also a main commercial and recreational fishing location for King George Whiting and Breams, where in 2000–01, 85 tonnes of Whitings and 54 tonnes of Breams were caught commercially alongside a recreational catch of 97 tonnes and 207 tonnes, respectively (Ford and Gilmour 2013). Other common commercially caught species in Port Phillip Bay include Squid, Gummy Shark, Australian Salmon and Flathead (Victorian Fisheries Authority Commercial Fish Production Information Bulletin 2019).

In the 2000 National Recreational and Indigenous Fishing Survey, the Barwon statistical division, which lies within the Geelong region, recorded a participation rate of 15%, slightly higher than the state average of 12.7% (Henry & Lyle 2003). Nearby Port Phillip Bay and adjacent coastal waters are the main fishing grounds in the region where high levels of shore and boat-based angling occurs. A 2008–2011 monitoring program found that in Port Phillip Bay snapper was the most commonly caught recreational species, followed by Flathead, King George Whiting and Black Bream (Ford and Gilmour 2013).

The region also has a significant aquaculture industry and is one of Australia's largest Mussel growers (mostly Blue Mussels). Cage Abalone has also recently become another dominant aquaculture product in Geelong aquaculture fisheries. Aquaculture reserves in the Geelong region include the Clifton Springs Aquaculture Fisheries Reserve, the Grassy Point Aquaculture Fisheries Reserve, the Kirk Point - Werribee Aquaculture Fisheries Reserve and the Bates Point Aquaculture Fisheries Reserve (Department of Primary Industries 2005). Some land based Abalone and Barramundi aquaculture farms are also located in the area.

Victoria state data

In 2017–18 the gross value production (GVP) of Victoria's fisheries production (both aquaculture and wild-catch) was $111 million, an increase of 19% ($17.4 million) from 2016–17. Victoria contributed 3% of the total value of Australian fisheries production in 2017–18. In value terms, the wild-catch sector accounted for 57% ($62.8 million) of the state's total production and the aquaculture sector accounted for the remaining 43% ($48.3 million).

Victoria's wild-catch fisheries sector increased by 15% to $62.8 million in 2017–18 from $54.4 million in 2016–17. The sector is dominated by two main products; Abalone and Southern Rock Lobster, which accounted for 43% ($26.9 million) and 37% ($23.3 million), respectively, of the total value of wild-caught production. The increase in Victoria’s wild-catch GVP in 2017–18 is almost entirely attributed to higher GVP of Abalone. GVP of wild-caught Abalone increased 31% to $26.9 million driven in large part by higher unit prices, which increased by 24% to $35.6 per kilogram in 2017–18 as a result of strong demand in the Chinese market.

In 2017–18 the value of Victoria's aquaculture production increased by 23% to $48.3 million, with Abalone, Salmonids and Mussels accounting for 52%, 28.5% and 11% respectively. Almost all of the growth in the GVP of Victoria’s aquaculture in 2017–18 is attributed to a 42% increase in Abalone GVP to $25.2 million. The value of Salmonids slightly decreased by 6% to a value of $13.7 million, due to a decrease in production volume.

Commonwealth fisheries active in the waters off Victoria include the Commonwealth Trawl Sector (a major source of domestic fresh fish for Sydney and Melbourne markets) and the Shark Gillnet and Shark Hook Sectors of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (which supplies Gummy Shark or 'flake' to Melbourne). 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 2018–19, fisheries products exported from Victoria were valued at $247 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. China, Hong Kong and Singapore are the major destinations for Victorian fisheries exports, accounting for 60%, 15% and 8% of the total value in 2018–19, respectively. Other major export destinations include Japan (5%) and New Zealand (5%).

Recreational fishing is popular in Victoria. In a 2015 Economic Study it was found that over 835,000 Victorian residents participate in recreational fishing annually (Ernst & Young 2015). In 2013–14 alone, Victorian residents made 6.1 million fishing trips across the state (Ernst & Young 2015), with Port Phillip Bay, Western Port and Gippsland Lakes being the most popular marine/estuarine recreational fishing locations (Australian Survey Research Pty Ltd 2018). Recreational fishing in Victoria includes gamefishing for species such as Southern Bluefin Tuna (Green et al 2012), diving for Southern Rock Lobster, Abalone, and Scallops and hook and line fishing for a range of Finfish species, such as Breams, King George Whiting, Flathead and Squid (Australian Survey Research Pty Ltd 2018).

Freshwater lakes and rivers are also popular fishing destinations for Victorian residents, especially the Murray River, Lake Eildon and the Goulburn River. Murray Cod, Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Redfin, Golden Perch and Yabbies are the most popular freshwater species targeted by Victorian residents (Australian Survey Research Pty Ltd 2018).

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 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.

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.

Australian Survey Research Pty Ltd 2018, Victorian Fisheries Authority Recreational Fishing in Victoria Report of survey findings (PDF 1.42 MB), Bentleigh, Victoria.

Department of Primary Industries 2005, Geelong Arm Aquaculture Fisheries Reserves Management Plan. Fisheries Victoria Management Report Series No. 34.

Ernst & Young 2015, Economic Study of Recreational Fishing in Victoria - Victorian Recreational Fishing Peak Body (PDF 761 KB), Ernst & Young, Australia.

Ford, J & Gilmour, P 2013, The state of recreational fishing in Victoria: a review of ecological sustainability and management options (PDF 1.41 MB), a report to the Victorian National Parks Association, Melbourne.

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.

Victorian Fisheries Authority 2019 Victorian Fisheries Authority Commercial Fish Production Information Bulletin 2019. Victorian Fisheries Authority, Queenscliff, Victoria, Australia.

Last reviewed: 23 July 2020
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