Gippsland Portal

Gippsland Regional Profile 2002/2003

 
Overview

The Gippsland region is located in the south-east of Victoria. It extends from the edge of Melbourne’s Metropolitan Region in the region’s west, eastwards to the New South Wales border, with the northern boundary formed by the edge of alpine country, with the coastline and Wilsons Promontory comprising its southern border. Gippsland includes the Bass Coast, Baw Baw, East Gippsland, South Gippsland, Wellington Shire Councils and LaTrobe City Council.

The region encompasses a broad range of agribusiness including agriculture, forestry, fishing and processing. The export economy of Gippsland is predominantly based on primary and secondary production, although many tertiary sectors have been growing, notable Retail Trade and Tourism-related industries. The progressive nature of the region is reflected in its strong social infrastructure and thriving Community groups.

Gippsland’s natural heritage places comprise of snow-fields, wilderness areas, rainforests, extensive lakes and beaches. Some of the State’s best land and marine parks are in the region such as the Alpine, Wilson’s Promontory, Tarra Bulga and Croajingalong National Parks

Major Industries           
                    
 Secondary Industries, niche/new and emerging
The agribusiness sector is a significant employer in the region, with over 37 % of Gippsland’s business involved in agriculture and fishing and a further 15 % involved in upstream processing operations. Livestock products, including milk production, represent about 50% of that total, followed by Livestock Slaughters (30%), and Crops (20%).

The flourishing dairy industry in Gippsland producers 32% of Victoria’s dairy production or 19% of Australia’s dairy production and accounts for about a thirds of Victoria’s total dairy revenue. There is a large dairy-processing sector within the region producing fresh milk, milk powder, butter, cheese and other products for domestic and significant export markets. Several speciality cheese businesses also exist in Gippsland producing a wide range of high quality cheeses and other value added dairy products.

In addition to dairying, Gippsland has a significant grazing industry based predominantly on beef, but also wool and prime lamb production. A significant proportion of the high value grass-fed beef produced in Gippsland is exported to regions throughout Asia.

Gippsland has a thriving vegetable producing industry. The trend for vegetable processors is to market fresh vegetables however some regional processors are utilising value-adding techniques such as cleaning and packaging to meet the ‘consumer ready’ markets.

Energy production is one of Gippsland’s major industries, based in the Latrobe Valley and Bass Coast’s oil and gas fields. The region produces around 90 percent of Victoria’s electricity and 97 percent of Victoria’s natural gas, with 46 percent of Australia’s oil coming from the Bass Strait fields.

The Gippsland forestry industry encompasses a wide variety of operations, from Australia’s largest pulp and paper mill to many small hardwood mills. It is estimated that the value of forestry to Gippsland’s economy is comparable to that of agriculture.

The Gippsland region is endowed with a diverse tourism industry, both natural and cultural. Home to rivers, lakes, parks, mountains and coastline, Gippsland is a mecca for beach lovers, bushwalkers, skiers, boating and fishing enthusiasts and day-trippers.

               

The emerging organic industry is quickly developing in Gippsland. Organic dairy, horticulture and beef production is leading this development. A leading organic processor at Drouin manufactures certified organic products with national distribution of products and a developing export capacity. The only certified Victorian organic abattoir is located on the outskirts of Warragul.

 

A successful hydroponic tomato business operates on the fringe of Warragul. Limited quantities of stone and pome fruits are produced throughout the region as do a growing number of berry producers. The viticultural industry has also experienced rapid growth with more than 20 registered wineries now located in Gippsland, producing a variety of typically ‘cool climate’ wines. Other beverages including spring water and boutique beer are also produced in Gippsland.

 

Cut and native wildflowers and nursery production also flourish within Gippsland, with species including daffodils and other bulbs, roses, native wildflowers, cut foliage and floral, tree and forestry seedlings. The regional floriculture and nursery companies do business throughout Australia and overseas.

 

Aquaculture, grain production, fodder cropping, dairy and meat goats, conventional and medical herbs, poultry, seed production and horticultural preservatives are all growing industries within the region.

 

Regional Agricultural Statistics
                  
Demographics and Employment

Area of holdings (ha)

1,641,878

Value ($)

Value of Agriculture Commodities ($)

1,160,149,896

Milk

582,029,676

Cattle and calves

290,644,915

Potatoes

29,403,377

Wool

26,277,016

Sheep and lambs

24,693,041

Poultry (inc. eggs)

18,053,908

Cut flowers

10,144,350

Nurseries

9,110,000

Carrots

9,078,505

Asparagus

8,319,559

Pigs

7,450,346

Broccoli

6,924,384

Sweetcorn

6,323,370

   

The Gippsland region has approximately 240,000 people residing in the region. By 2021 population forecasts suggest that Gippsland is likely to grow to about 260,000 people. As with the common trend across Victoria the proportion of the total population comprising young adults aged 24 to 34 years is declining with growth in the over 55 years group.

The 1996 Census indicates that 81,256 of Gippsland’s residents were recorded as employed, accounting for over 36 % of the region’s total population. The single largest employment sector was " Retail and Trade", employing over 12,000 people, pr about 15% of those employed, followed by "Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing", with nearly 14 % of total employment. Together with "Manufacturing", "Health and Community Services" and "Education", these top five industries command over 55% of Gippsland’s total employment.

 
Major Regional Cities/Centres (Population) 
                  
Education Levels of Region's Population

The LaTrobe Valley in central Gippsland is the population centre of Gippsland with Traralgon, Moe and Morwell being the only designated cities in the region.

Sale and Bairnsdale are the largest towns in the region.

 

About 55,000 Gippsland residents are engaged in some form of education, from pre-school to tertiary studies. In the last decade, there has been a substantial increase in the number of people with Higher Degrees, postgraduate Diplomas, Bachelor Degrees and Associate Diplomas.

 

Warragul and Drouin in the west are expected to experience significant growth in the future due to improved access to Melbourne.

1996 population census figures for centres
> 1000 residents are:

Traralgon

13,200

Moe

10,000

Morwell

1,557

Sale

1,890

Bairnsdale

1,152

Warragul

1,153

Wonthaggi

2,692

Lakes Entrance

6,252

Churchill

2,493

Drouin

4,790

 
Farm physical and financial statistics

There are approximately 6,156 farms in Gippsland. Of this total 2,605 farms are for dairy production. Average dairy farm size is about 108 hectares. Dairy farms have an Economic Farm Surplus of about $A780 per hectare.

This total agricultural activity has a Gross Value of Production (GVAP) of approximately $900 million per year. The total value of vegetables is $89,671,313 with Koo Wee Rup in the west of the region, South Gippsland and Lindenow near Bairnsdale being the predominate vegetable production areas.

 

 
Infrastructure
             
Current Issues in Gippsland
Water
  • Southern Rural Water is responsible for managing rural water resources across southern Victoria. Their main business centre in Gippsland is located in Maffra. (http://www.srw.com.au)
  • Gippsland Water provides reticulated water and wastewater services to a geographic region from Drouin in the west, to Stratford in the east, and from Mirboo North in the south, to Rawson and Briagalong in the north. (www.gippswater.com.au)
  • East Gippsland Water provides water and wastewater services to the communities of East Gippsland. (www.egwater.vic.gov.au )

Energy

Gippsland is pre-eminent in Australia as a source of both energy and energy education. Gippsland offers the advantage of reliability of electricity supply as well as the potential for substantial price benefits via the co-location of industries with power generators.

Transport

The Gippsland region has a wide range of courier, container, and Bulk haulage transport, along with rail transport to the port of Melbourne (container and bulk consignments) and Port of Portland (bulk only).

Education

Secondary and tertiary educational facilities are located across Gippsland. Monash University has a campus in Churchill, offering a range of Degree Courses. Agricultural education to degree level is also available thorough the University of Melbourne, McMillam Campus located at Warragul. TAFE campuses are also located at centres throughout Gippsland offering vocational education courses.

Health

Gippsland has excellent access to health and aged care services. Major regional hospitals in Gippsland and are located in Warragul, Traralgon, Sale and Bairnsdale. District hospitals exist in all other centres.

  The number of farmers in Gippsland is slowly decreasing, consistent with trends in the rest of Victoria and Australia. Although rate of entry into agriculture has increased over the past five years. Deregulation of the dairy industry and the response from the farming community to adjustment could explain this trend. Corporate instability and competition of dairy processors are major issues that dominate the dairy industry in Gippsland. Most of the region has experienced a consolidation of farming activities.

The proposed Barry Point Industrial Precinct to be located in South Gippsland Shire would provide an alternative port for Gippsland producers for getting produce to market and significantly reduce land transport costs involved in moving goods to port. A proposed inland port to be located in the Latrobe Valley is also under consideration.

Intensive irrigated dairy farming in the Macalister Irrigation District has resulted in poor environmental and water quality on site and significant offsite impacts including high nutrient loads. Significant irrigation induced salinity exists, exacerbated by extensive clearing and draining of wetlands. The natural state of the Gippsland lakes in under threat with severe and frequent algal blooms being the most noticeable symptom. A number of management strategies and action plans have been developed to ensure these threats and others do not lead to degradation of the regions ital natural resources.

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