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Queensland—A resilient beef and tourism industry

Queensland’s beef exports—which account for almost three-fifths of Australian beef exports—grew 17% in 2018. Australia recorded double-digit growth in Asian markets, with particularly strong gains in China and South Korea. The Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement in early 2019, should improve market access to Indonesia, a key growth market.

Export volumes were also driven by severe drought, which resulted in more cattle being sent to slaughter. But combined with herd losses from the severe floods in early 2019, the Meat and Livestock Association estimate the national herd is at its lowest level since the mid-1990s. The lower size of the breeding herd may weigh on future beef production, with the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics predicting that herd rebuilding will be put on hold until the drought lifts.

Queensland’s tourism sector continued to be a standout performer. Almost 3 million international tourists visited Queensland in 2018, spending a record A$6b during their travels. That represents an 11% increase on Queensland trip expenditure from 2017 and is triple the growth rate in the equivalent national measure. This was driven by both increased visitor numbers, as well as increased average visitor spend. The lower Australian dollar and the state’s unique attractions have made Queensland an affordable and desirable location for a holiday, particularly among Asia’s burgeoning middle class. Expenditure growth has recorded double-digit gains from China (↑25.4%), Singapore (↑41.2%), Taiwan (↑14.9%), Malaysia (↑11.7%) as well as United States (↑15.4%), and Canada (↑41%), outpacing expenditure growth across Australia (Chart).

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