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4609.0.55.001 - Land Account: Great Barrier Reef Region, Experimental Estimates, 2014  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 18/07/2014   
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SUMMARY OF FINDINGS


This release presents the ABS' first experimental land account to demonstrate a method for reporting change in land use, rateable value and land cover. These estimates have been prepared for land use based policy analysis. It is the second experimental land account for the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) region in Queensland (Figure 1) and the associated Natural Resource Management (NRM) regions. The GBR region contains 5 NRM regions: Burdekin, Burnett Mary, Fitzroy, Mackay Whitsunday, and Wet Tropics (Figure 2).

Tables are presented using formats recommended in the United Nations' System of Environmental and Economic Accounts (SEEA). This publication is experimental, and as such the estimates should be used with caution. Please refer to the Data Quality section in the Explanatory Notes for more information.

Figure 1. Study region - Great Barrier Reef region
Map: Figure 1 Shows Study region - Great Barrier Reef region within Australian map

Figure 2. NRM regions in the GBR region
Map: Figure 2. Shows NRM regions in the GBR region


LAND USE AND VALUE

Tables 1, 2, 3 and 4 in the Downloads Tab present change in land use for the period June 2009 to June 2013. The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) region covers approximately 38.5 million hectares. The total rateable value of land for this region has increased from around $108 billion to $123 billion over this time. The rateable value in this release is consistent with the Australian System of National Accounts, 2012-13 (cat. no. 5204.0).


Residential land use

Land classified as Residential represents 67% of the GBR total rateable value but only 0.2% of the region's total land area. Residential land had the greatest increase in rateable value between 2009 and 2013 with a net change of $13.9 billion (or 20%) from $68.8 billion to $82.7 billion in the GBR region. This included $2.6 billion in additions, $1.0 billion in reductions and $12.3 billion in positive revaluations. The greatest changes in Residential rateable value came from the revaluation of land that remained under Residential use ($6.6 billion) and the reclassification of Unallocated land uses to Residential ($6.6 billion). In 2009 and 2013 Residential accounted for less than 1% of the total land area in the GBR region. The area of Residential land increased from 64,000 to 72,000 hectares (or 13%) with 15,000 hectares of additions and 7,000 hectares of reductions. Over 5,000 hectares or 50% of net increases to Residential land area were from Agriculture Cropping and Livestock Grazing land uses.

Figures 3 and 4 present the total rateable value and total land area of Residential land use for each NRM region. These show that all NRM regions within the GBR region have experienced a net increase in Residential rateable value and land area over the period from 2009 to 2013. The greatest net increase of Residential rateable value was found in Burdekin with $6.0 billion, while Fitzroy reported the largest net increase of land area with 3,000 hectares.

Figure 3. Rateable value of Residential land by NRM region
Graph: Figure 3. Rateable value of Residential land by NRM region


Figure 4. Area of Residential land by NRM region
Graph: Figure 4. Area of of Residential land by NRM region

Extractive Industry and Infrastructure/Utilities land use

The Extractive Industry and Infrastructure/Utilities land use reported a net increase of 115,000 hectares (or 29%) in the GBR region moving from 391,000 to 506,000 hectares from 2009 to 2013. This included 160,000 hectares of additions and 45,000 hectares of reductions. The largest net increase of Extractive Industry and Infrastructure/Utilities land area was from Livestock Grazing at 79,000 hectares.

The Fitzroy NRM region had the largest net increase of Extractive Industry and Infrastructure/Utilities land with 66,000 hectares, followed by the Wet Tropics with 40,000 hectares. Burdekin and Mackay Whitsundays were the only NRM regions to show net decreases with 2,000 hectares and 1,000 hectares respectively.

The rateable value of Extractive Industry and Infrastructure/Utilities land use has decreased by $84 million (or 20%) from $424 million to $340 million in the GBR region. This included $55 million in additions, $41 million in reductions and a negative revaluation of $98 million. The greatest net change in rateable value was a net decrease of $79 million in Fitzroy. Burdekin was the only NRM to report a net increase in rateable value at $19 million.


Primary Production land use

Over three quarters of the land area in the GBR region has a land use classification of Agriculture Cropping, Livestock Grazing or Other Primary Production. Combined, these three Primary Production land uses showed a net increase in both land area of 279,000 hectares (or 0.9%) and rateable value of $243 million (or 2.3%) from 2009 to 2013.

Livestock Grazing is the dominant land use in the GBR region. Over the accounting period this land use experienced a net increase of 429,000 hectares to 30.0 million hectares (or 1.4%). This included 1.7 million hectares of additions and 1.2 million hectares of reductions. In contrast, the rateable value of Livestock Grazing reported a net decrease of $338 million (or 4.2%) from $8.0 billion to $7.7 billion. This included $168 million of additions, $364 million of reductions and a negative revaluation of $142 million.

The Burdekin and Fitzroy NRM regions dominate the total area of Livestock Grazing in the GBR region. Together these two NRM regions represented 83% and 84% of Livestock Grazing in the GBR region for 2009 and 2013 respectively. Burdekin reported a decrease in total area from 12.8 million to 12.6 million hectares over the accounting period while Fitzroy reported an increase from 11.8 to 12.4 million hectares. Fitzroy reported the greatest increase of Livestock Grazing of all NRM regions with a net change of 658,000 hectares (see Figure 6). The rateable value of Livestock Grazing in Fitzroy declined considerably with a net decrease of $760 million (see Figure 5). Maps 1 and 2 in the Downloads Tab present the net change in rateable value and land area to Livestock Grazing at NRM level.

Figure 5. Rateable value of Livestock Grazing land by NRM region
Graph: Figure 5. Rateable value of Livestock Grazing land by NRM region


Figure 6. Area of Livestock Grazing land by NRM region
Graph: Figure 6. Area of Livestock Grazing land by NRM region

Land classified as Agriculture Cropping in the GBR region reported a net decrease of 142,000 hectares (or 7%) to 1.8 million hectares. However, the rateable value increased by 18% from $2.3 billion to $2.7 billion. This included $88 million in additions, $221 million in reductions and $538 million in positive revaluations. All NRM regions in the GBR region showed a net decrease in the area of land used for Agriculture Cropping. Fitzroy reported the greatest decrease with 53,000 hectares (see Figure 8). Despite this loss, Fitzroy still contains almost half the GBR region's total Agriculture Cropping land (47.8%). The Wet Tropics NRM region reported the greatest net change in rateable value of Agriculture Cropping land, with an increase of $207 million (see Figure 7). Maps 3 and 4 in the Downloads Tab present the percentage net change in rateable value and land area to Agriculture Cropping at NRM level.

Figure 7. Rateable value of Agriculture Cropping land by NRM region
Graph: Figure 7. Rateable value of Agriculture Cropping land by NRM region


Figure 8. Area of Agriculture Cropping land by NRM region
Graph: Figure 8. Area of Agriculture Cropping land by NRM region


Other Primary Production includes all agricultural land use types in the Australian Valuation Property Classification Codes (AVPCC) not covered by Agricultural Cropping or Livestock Grazing (see Explanatory Notes). Land use classified as Other Primary Production in the GBR region reported a net decrease of 8,000 hectares (or 1.8%). However, the rateable value increased substantially from $322 million to $498 million. Positive revaluations accounted for $167 million of additional value over the accounting period. The largest net change in area of land classified as Other Primary Production was in the Burdekin NRM region, with a net decrease of 31,000 hectares.
LAND COVER

Tables 5 and 6 in the Downloads Tab show changes in land cover between the period January 2008 to December 2009 and January 2010 to December 2011. The rate at which land cover changes is slow and the Dynamic Land Cover Dataset (DLCD) V2 beta data set remains in a testing phase. As such, the information should be interpreted cautiously and with reference to the data custodians, Geoscience Australia (GA).

Changes in land cover have many potential drivers, including human activities and natural phenomena. The DLCD data presented here summarises many observations of the Earth's surface to provide a single dominant land cover class for each of the two year periods selected. There will be some level of land cover change within and between each two year layer of DLCD caused by various drivers. This intra-period and inter-period variation should be considered when interpreting the changes reported between the two accounting periods. Examples of human activities that drive land cover change include urban development, crop and pasture management and industrial activity. Natural drivers of land cover change include flood events, bushfires and seasonal climatic variation. Attribution of specific causes to observed land cover change requires additional information.


Trees (Open and Sparse) land cover

For the 2008-09 period Trees-Sparse accounted for 12 million hectares (or 31%) of all land cover in the GBR region, followed by Tussock Grasses-Closed with 8 million hectares (or 22%) and Trees-Open with 8 million hectares (or 20%). Between 2008-09 and 2010-11 Trees-Sparse reported a net decrease of 3 million hectares (or 27%) to a total of 9 million hectares. This was the largest decrease of any land cover type in the GBR region. This decrease was driven by change to Trees-Open (4 million hectares). This net change led to Trees-Open becoming the most abundant land cover in 2010-11 increasing from 8 to 11 million hectares (or 45%). This included 5 million hectares of additions and 2 million hectares of reductions. The largest net decrease from Trees-Sparse to Trees-Open occurred within the Fitzroy NRM region with 2 million hectares. Maps 5, 6 and 7 in the Downloads Tab present the physical change in land cover to Trees-Open, Trees-Sparse and Tussock Grasses-Closed at NRM level.

The Bureau of Methodology reported a higher than average rainfall anomaly in 2010-11 (see Figure 9 and 10) for the GBR region. Fluctuations in rainfall may have impacted the changes in land cover such as Trees-Sparse to Trees-Open.

Figure 9. Queensland Rainfall Anomalies (mm) - 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2009
Map: Figure 9 shows Queensland Rainfall Anomalies in mm for 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2009


Figure 10. Queensland Rainfall Anomalies (mm) - 1 January 2010 to 31 December 2011
Map: Figure 10 Shows Queensland Rainfall Anomalies in mm for 1 January 2010 to 31 December 2011

Wetlands land cover

The Wetlands land cover type increased in land area from 291,000 to 395,000 hectares for the GBR region. This included 154,000 hectares of additions and 50,000 hectares of reductions. The two largest net increases to Wetlands came from Tussock Grasses-Closed with 55,000 hectares and Trees-Sparse with 48,000 hectares.

The Burdekin and Fitzroy NRM regions both showed the largest net increases in the area of Wetlands with 57,000 hectares and 44,000 hectares respectively. Mackay Whitsunday was the only NRM to show a net decrease in Wetland land area with 1,000 hectares (see Figure 11). Map 8 in the Downloads Tab presents the physical change in Wetlands around the Rockhampton region within the Fitzroy NRM region.

Figure 11. Area of Wetlands land cover by NRM region
Graph: Figure 11. Area of Wetlands land cover by NRM region



Pasture and cropping land cover

The Rainfed Pasture land cover represented 2 million hectares or 4% of all land cover in the GBR region in 2008-09. This increased to 2 million hectares in 2010-11 with a net change of 229,000 hectares (or 14%). This included 367,000 hectares of additions and 138,000 hectares of reductions. The largest change in land area was a net increase of 104,000 hectares from Rainfed Cropping. Every NRM in the GBR region reported a net increase of Rainfed Pasture. Burnett Mary had the largest increase of 144,000 hectares.

Irrigated Pasture also showed an increase in land area for every NRM region (see Figure 13). Overall this land cover increased by 30,000 hectares (or 19%) from 156,000 hectares to 186,000 hectares. This included 44,000 hectares of additions and 15,000 hectares of reductions. The majority of these changes to Irrigated Pasture were a result of net increases from Irrigated Cropping with 18,000 hectares and Rainfed Pasture with 13,000 hectares. Burnett Mary was the NRM region with the greatest net increase of Irrigated Pasture with 15,000 hectares.

Figure 12. Area of Rainfed Pasture land cover by NRM region
Graph: Figure 12. Area of Rainfed Pasture  land cover by NRM region


Figure 13. Area of Irrigated Pasture land cover by NRM region
Graph: Figure 13. Area of Irrigated Pasture land cover by NRM region

The Rainfed Cropping land cover reported a decrease of 149,000 hectares (or 19%) from 771,000 hectares to 622,000 hectares in the GBR region. This included 34,000 hectares of additions and 182,000 hectares of reductions. The reductions of Rainfed Cropping were largely driven by net decreases to Rainfed Pasture (104,000 hectares) and Irrigated Cropping (23,000 hectares). The Fitzroy NRM region contained the largest area of Rainfed Cropping with around 70% of the GBR total in both accounting periods. Every NRM within the GBR reported a net decrease in Rainfed Cropping. Fitzroy contained the greatest net decrease with 94,000 hectares (see Figure 15).

Irrigated Cropping showed an increase of 9,000 hectares (or 9%) from 108,000 to 118,000 hectares in the GBR region. This included 51,000 hectares of additions and 41,000 hectares of reductions. The most significant changes included a net increase from Rainfed Cropping of 23,000 hectares and a net decrease from Irrigated Pasture of 18,000 hectares. Figure 15 shows that Fitzroy reported the largest net change for Irrigated Cropping with a net increase of 17,000 hectares.

Figure 14. Area of Rainfed Cropping land cover by NRM region
Graph: Figure 14. Area of Rainfed Cropping land cover by NRM region


Figure 15. Area of Irrigated Cropping land cover by NRM region
Graph: Figure 15. Area of Irrigated Cropping land cover by NRM region



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Commonwealth of Australia 2014

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