Queensland Economy

A diversified economy

Queensland has a modern, diversified economy, underpinned by strong sectors including agriculture, resources, construction, tourism, manufacturing and services.

Over the past two decades, Queensland’s economic growth has generally exceeded the national average.  With large LNG projects moving to production and export, the economy has entered a period of transition which is expected to see Queensland continue to outstrip national growth over the years ahead, with growth boosted by the ramp-up in LNG exports.

The Queensland Government is committed to strengthening the productive capacity of all sectors of the Queensland economy and improving prosperity for all Queenslanders. We are working to enable each sector to flourish and drive sustainable long-term growth.

Queensland’s Agriculture Sector

Agriculture provides the original base for the development of the Queensland economy, accounting for 2.5% of the state’s economy and employing over 57,000 Queenslanders. More than half of Queensland’s agriculture output is produced in the Darling Downs-Maranoa, Queensland-Outback, Fitzroy and Wide Bay regions.

More than half of the value of Queensland agricultural production is derived from meat (mainly beef) and sugar, however these commodities have been supplemented by a large range of other agricultural products including vegetables, fruit and nuts, and crops such as wheat, sorghum and barley.

The bulk of Queensland’s agricultural commodities are produced for export, providing a significant contribution to the state’s foreign earnings. Queensland exported $9.1 billion of rural commodities in 2014-15, with the US, Japan and China accounting for over half.

The industry is sensitive to several external factors including weather events, such as droughts, cyclones and flood events, as well as currency movements.

Queensland agriculture sector factsheet

Queensland's Resources Sector

The resources sector has been a key driver of growth in Queensland. The state’s coal and bauxite reserves are among the largest in the world, and are generally of a high grade and easily accessible. Queensland is the world’s largest seaborne exporter of metallurgical coal, with total coal exports exceeding 220 million tonnes in 2014-15.

Queensland also has well developed coal and minerals industries while the natural gas industry, which has been operating domestically since the 1960s, has undergone rapid expansion and transformation into a major international export sector. The main minerals produced in Queensland are bauxite, copper, zinc, lead, silver and gold, although a wide variety of minerals are produced in the state.

Queensland’s resources sector factsheet

Queensland’s Construction Sector

Construction is another key driver of the Queensland economy. During 2014-15, the sector employed around 217,000 workers, making it the state’s third largest employer accounting for 11.1% of the Queensland economy (the largest contribution to total state output).

Based on the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the three broad classes of construction include engineering construction (mines, ports, roads, bridges, rail and other infrastructure), non-residential building (shops, offices, factories, schools, hospitals, churches and theatres) and residential building (new houses, units, apartments and renovations).

Engineering construction work done totalled $28.1 billion in 2014-15, while non-residential construction work done totalled $6.8 billion in the same time period. In addition, residential construction work totalled $10.9 billion in 2014-15, with 21,102 new detached houses completed, along with 16,109 other dwellings, such as apartments and townhouses.

Queensland’s construction sector factsheet

Queensland’s Tourism Sector

Queensland boasts many natural attractions, including the Great Barrier Reef, extensive beaches, island resorts and tropical rainforests, as well as cosmopolitan cities and a unique countryside. International and domestic tourism will always play an important role in Queensland’s economy. Rather than being a distinct industry, tourism economic activity covers a wide range of industries including accommodation, cafes and restaurants, transport services, retail trade and cultural and recreation services.

Queensland is Australia’s second largest tourism market after New South Wales, accounting for 24.6% of the national tourism output and employing around 130,900 people.

Tourists visiting Queensland come from a diverse range of countries and from different regions within Australia. While international tourism generally gains most attention, it is actually domestic tourists that have the largest impact, accounting for more than two thirds of total nights spent by tourists in Queensland. Brisbane was Queensland’s most popular destination for both domestic and international tourists in 2015, followed by the Gold Coast, Tropical North Queensland and the Sunshine Coast.

Queensland’s tourism sector factsheet

Last updated: 19 June 2017