Latest release

National Land Account, Experimental Estimates

The National Land Account provides statistics to measure changes in land attributes over time, both from an economic and an environmental perspective.

Reference period
2016
Released
22/06/2021
Next release Unknown
First release

Key statistics

  • Between 2011-16 land managed for resource protection (eg. reserves) increased by 12.2 million hectares.
  • Between 2010-15, 63.8 million hectares of natural terrestrial vegetated: herbaceous land (eg. grassland) became natural surfaces (eg. bare earth).
  • Land value increased 32.6% to $5,124 billion dollars between 2011-16.

Towards National Land Account 2021

Towards National Land Account 2021 is a discussion article that highlights what was learnt through the development of the current land accounts with a view to the near future. The article is also a call for comments on the functionality and use of the accounts in this format, as well as seeking comments on whether there is a need for more geographically detailed and repeatable accounts. 

Land Use

In 2015-16:

  • 42.3% of total land (325.1 million hectares) was grazing native vegetation (eg. unmodified grazing land).
  • 17.7% of total land (136.4 million hectares) was in managed resource protection (eg. conservation reserves).
  • 13.6% of total land (104.5 million hectares) was in other minimal use (eg. largely unused land).

Between 2010-11 and 2015-16:

  • Managed resource protection increased 12.2 million hectares (9.8%) of which 10.4 million hectares was previously other minimal use. Most of this change occurred in Western Australia (up 8.9 million hectares).
  • Nature conservation increased 6.6 million hectares (10.3%) of which 3.1 million hectares was previously other minimal use and 2.5 million hectares was previously grazing native vegetation. This change occurred in Western Australia (up 3.2 million hectares), South Australia (up 1.1 million hectares) and the Northern Territory (up 1.0 million hectares).
  • Dryland cropping increased 2.5 million hectares (7.7%) of which 1.9 million hectares was previously grazing modified pastures. This change mostly occurred in New South Wales (up 1.4 million hectares), followed by Western Australia (up 0.6 million hectares).
  • Grazing native vegetation decreased 8.4 million hectares (-2.5%) of which 3.0 million hectares moved to managed resource protection, 2.5 million hectares moved to nature conservation and 1.7 million hectares moved to grazing modified pastures.
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* includes all other land use types

Definitions of each class for land use, cover, tenure and value can be found in the Classifications section of the land account methodology page.

Land Cover

In 2015:

  • 46.8% of total land (359.5 million hectares) was natural terrestrial vegetated: herbaceous land (eg. grassland).
  • 35.3% of total land (271.7 million hectares) was natural surfaces (eg. bare earth or rock).
  • 11.1% of total land (85.4 million hectares) was natural terrestrial vegetated: woody land (eg. tree covered).

Between 2010 and 2015:

  • Natural surfaces (bare earth or rock) increased 78.3 million hectares (up 40.5%). Of this, 63.8 million hectares was previously natural terrestrial vegetated: herbaceous land (grassland). Most of this change occurred in Queensland (up 41.3 million hectares) followed by the Northern Territory (up 21.8 million hectares).
  • Natural terrestrial vegetated: woody land (tree covered) increased 8.4 million hectares (up 11.0%). The largest increase was seen in Western Australia, which increased tree covered areas by 9.7 million hectares, or 130%. This was offset by a reduction in Queensland (down 4.4 million hectares).
  • Water covered areas decreased by 3.6 million hectares (down 57.3%). This is seen across the south and east of the country, with a decrease of 82.3% (1.9 million hectares) in South Australia and 80.0% (1.3 million hectares) in Queensland. Western Australia, however, increased by 48.8% (up 0.4 million hectares).

 

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* includes all other land cover types

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Land Tenure

In 2015-16:

  • 30.0% of total land (230.8 million hectares) was freehold.
  • 28.1% of total land (215.8 million hectares) was pastoral term lease.
  • 13.5% of total land (103.6 million hectares) was other crown land.

Between 2010-11 and 2015-16:

  • Freehold increased 14.0 million hectares (6.4%) of which 7.6 million hectares was previously other lease, 2.1 million hectares was previously other crown land and 1.4 million hectares was previously nature conservation reserve. Most of this change occurred in Queensland (up 9.5 million hectares).
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* includes all other land tenure types

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* ACT data reflects other term lease

Land Value

The value of land at 30 June 2016 comprised of:

  • 81.4% ($4,169.6 billion) in residential.
  • 8.4% ($430.0 billion) in commercial.
  • 5.3% ($270.8 billion) in rural.
  • 5.0% ($253.7 billion) in government.

NSW accounted for 39.1% of the total land value for Australia whereas it accounted for 10.4% of the land area.

Between 30 June 2011 and 30 June 2016:

  • The value of land increased 32.6% nationally from $3,864.5 billion to $5,124.1 billion.
  • Land used for residential purposes increased the most (up 36.9%).
  • NSW land used for residential purposes increased 55.3%, the largest increase of all the states and territories.
  • The value of rural land decreased in Western Australia (-10.2%), Queensland (-9.2%) and Tasmania (-1.4%). Queensland government land also decreased (-1.8%).
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Post release changes

28 June 2021: Due to a transposing error, the data cube Physical account for land use, 2011 and 2016 has been updated. Details are:

Tables 1.10 to 1.18 land use change matrix have been amended for the following land use types:

  • Grazing modified pastures
  • Plantation forests
  • Intensive horticulture and animal production
  • Urban intensive uses.

Data downloads

Data files

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 4616.0