About my region – Latrobe-Gippsland 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 sector in the Latrobe-Gippsland region and the recent financial performance of the Victorian broadacre, dairy, and vegetable industries.
The Latrobe-Gippsland region of Victoria is located in the eastern corner of the state. The region comprises the six local government areas of Bass Coast, Baw Baw, East Gippsland, Latrobe, South Gippsland and Wellington, and the major regional centres of Bairnsdale, Sale and Traralgon. The region covers a total area of around 41,400 square kilometres or 18 per cent of Victoria's total area and is home to approximately 279,400 people (ABS 2018).
Agricultural land in the Latrobe-Gippsland region occupies 11,700 square kilometres, or 28 per cent of the region. Areas classified as conservation and natural environments (nature conservation, protected areas and minimal use) also occupy 11,700 square kilometres. The most common land use by area is production forestry, which occupies 14,300 square kilometres or 34 per cent of the Latrobe-Gippsland region (ABARES 2016).
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data from the August 2020 Labour Force Survey indicate that around 124,000 people were employed in the Latrobe-Gippsland region. The region accounts for 4 per cent of total employment in Victoria and 13 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 15,300 people, followed by construction with 14,900 people, and retail trade with 12,500 people. Other important employment sectors in the region were agriculture, forestry and fishing; education and training; and manufacturing. The agriculture, forestry and fishing sector employed 12,100 people, representing 10 per cent of the region's workforce.
Value of agricultural production
In 2018–19, the gross value of agricultural production in the Latrobe-Gippsland region was $2.2 billion, which was 14 per cent of the total gross value of agricultural production in Victoria ($15.9billion).
The most important commodities in the Latrobe-Gippsland region based on the gross value of agricultural production were milk ($926 million), followed by cattle and calves ($649 million) and sheep and lambs ($82 million). These commodities together contributed 76 per cent of the total value of agricultural production in the region. In 2018–19 the Latrobe-Gippsland region accounted for 91 per cent ($22 million) of the total value of Victoria's green peas production.
Number and type of farms
ABS data indicate that in 2018–19 there were 3,199 farms in the Latrobe-Gippsland region with an estimated value of agricultural operations of $40,000 or more. The region contains 16 per cent of all farm businesses in Victoria.
|Industry classification||Latrobe-Gippsland region||Victoria|
|Number of farms||% of Region||Number of farms||Contribution of region to state total %|
|Beef Cattle Farming (Specialised)||1,436||44.9||4,894||29.3|
|Dairy Cattle Farming||1,133||35.4||3,369||33.6|
|Sheep-Beef Cattle Farming||165||5.1||1,262||13.0|
|Sheep Farming (Specialised)||143||4.5||2,982||4.8|
|Vegetable Growing (Outdoors)||76||2.4||428||17.9|
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, Customised report, 2020
Farms in the table above are classified according to the activities that generate most of their value of production. Beef cattle farms (1,436 farms) were the most common, accounting for 45 per cent of all farms in the Latrobe-Gippsland region, and 29 per cent of all beef cattle 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 25 per cent of farms in the Latrobe-Gippsland region 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 2018–19. In comparison, 36 per cent of farms in the region had an EVAO of more than $500,000 and accounted for an estimated 76 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in the Latrobe-Gippsland region in 2018–19.
Farm financial performance
Estimates of financial performance are available for all broadacre, dairy and vegetable farms in Victoria.
The Latrobe-Gippsland region contains a significant seafood industry. The main ports in the region include Lakes Entrance, Port Welshpool and San Remo where both wild-catch and offshore aquaculture are landed.
Commercial state catch in the region can be broken up into three dominant areas: Western Port Bay, Corner Inlet and Gippsland Lakes and Lake Tyers. Species commonly landed in Western Port Bay include Squid, Gummy Shark, Garfish, Flathead and Yelloweye Mullet. Species commonly landed in Corner Inlet and Gippsland Lakes and Lake Tyers include King George Whiting, Flathead, Garfish, Squid, Black Bream and Yelloweye Mullet. Southern Rock Lobster and Abalone are also commonly caught in the region, with 45 tonnes of Southern Rock Lobster caught to the east of Apollo Bay in 2018–19 and 346 tonnes of Abalone caught to the east of Lakes Entrance in the same financial year (Victorian Fisheries Authority Commercial Fish Production Information Bulletin 2019).
Over 18,250 tonnes was also landed in the region from Commonwealth fisheries in 2018–19, sourced mainly from the Commonwealth Trawl Sector and the Gillnet Hook and Trap. The most commonly landed species from Commonwealth fisheries were Gummy Shark (5,752 tonnes), Tiger Flathead (3,318 tonnes), Blue Grenadier (1,723 tonnes), Eastern School Whiting (1,419 tonnes) and Pink Ling (643 tonnes).
In the 2000 National Recreational and Indigenous Fishing Survey, Gippsland and its surroundings recorded a participation rate of 22.9%, much higher than the state average of 12.7% (Henry & Lyle 2003). Gippsland Lakes is a popular recreational fishing location, with 12% of respondents to a 2018 Victorian recreational fishing survey listing it as their preferred location. Lakes Entrance, Lake Tyers and Mallacoota Inlet were also listed as popular fishing locations in the survey (Australian Survey Research Pty Ltd 2018). Commonly caught recreational species in the region include Breams, Black Bream, Garfish, Tailor, King George Whiting and Australian Salmon (Victorian Fishery Authority 2017). Recreational fishing in the Gippsland area and surroundings had a direct industry output of $381 million in 2013–14, accounting for 14.9% of the state total (Ernst & Young 2015).
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.
In 2014–15 the most recent year for which regional data are available, the total plantation area in the Latrobe - Gippsland region was about 97,600 hectares, comprised of 33,010 hectares of hardwood plantations and 63,840 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 2.7 million hectares of native forests in the Latrobe - Gippsland region, comprised mainly of Eucalypt Medium Open (1.3 million hectares), Eucalypt Tall Open (773,000 hectares) and Eucalypt Medium Woodland (312,000 hectares). The majority of the native forests were multiple use public forest available for timber production (1,468,400 hectares), while 933,900 hectares were in conservation reserves and 232,300 hectares were privately managed.
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 2020a, Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, Quarterly, August 2020, cat. no. 6291.0 Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra, accessed 12 December 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.
Ernst & Young 2015, Economic Study of Recreational Fishing in Victoria - Victorian Recreational Fishing Peak Body (PDF 761 KB), Ernst & Young, Australia.
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 2017, Review of key Victorian fish stocks — 2017, Victorian Fisheries Authority Science Report Series No. 1.
Victorian Fisheries Authority 2019 Victorian Fisheries Authority Commercial Fish Production Information Bulletin 2019. Victorian Fisheries Authority, Queenscliff, Victoria, Australia.