Economic development

Emerging industry sectors

Unlike other regional coastal towns, Bundaberg's economy is driven by a number of diverse industry sectors. There are some emerging sectors that are beginning to make their mark not just in the Bundaberg Region but throughout the greater state of Queensland. Some of these (including their opportunities) include:

Bio Futures / Bio Energy

The Bundaberg Region offers key strategic advantages to capitalise upon the growing bio futures sector in Queensland. The region has an abundant supply of some key bio waste sources. These include:

Queensland Bio Mass data revealed the following statistics for the Bundaberg Local Government Region (dry tonnes)

  • Sugarcane trash - 532,000
  • Sugarcane bagasse - 488,000
  • Sweet potatoes - 75,000
  • Solid waste timber - 20,050
  • Harvest residues (hardwood) - 18,390
  • Solid waste paper - 10,600
  • Pulplog (softwood) - 7,900
  • Harvest residues (softwood) - 7,710
  • Solid waste green - 5,650
  • Solid waste food - 4,230
  • Solid waste other - 2,910
  • Wood processing residues - 1,580
  • Biosolids - 1,440
  • Manure (pigs) - 800
  • Manure (feedlot cattle) - 630

Source: Queensland Bio Mass data, 2019

Current examples - Utilitas, Bio Hub

The project repurposes the old Bundaberg East waste water treatment plant with the aim of forming a world leading biotechnology and education hub for the future. The power plant trial commenced in January 2019. There are also discussions in place with local sweet potato farmers and Bundaberg Brewed Drinks to ascertain if there is interest in supplying waste in the form of fruit pulp.



Council recognises the opportunity the defence sector could positively contribute economically to the region. The announcement by the Queensland Government of a State Development Area (SDA) at the Port of Bundaberg increases the opportunity for industrial investment in the area. Council’s pursuit of investment by the Defence Industry is based upon:

  • The large amount of land available, approximately 6,000 ha
  • The existence of similarly focussed industry within the region
  • The current underutilisation of the Port
  • Its location midway along the east coast of Australia
  • It being outside of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
  • Its proximity to the major defence training area of Shoalwater Bay and the minor training area at Tin Can Bay

It is Council’s intent to work closely with existing local industries (e.g. manufacturing, engineering, agribusiness and marine and port services) to develop a succinct plan (or quad chart) to take to Tier 1 and 2 defence and related industry suppliers with a view to steer their focus towards our region. As part of this engagement, Council sought the appointment of consultants Vaxa to provide a series of workshops and one on one meetings to help get businesses “defence ready”.


Creative industries including agriculture technology

Bundaberg is becoming a region that is focussed on creative employment, concentrating on not only computing based creative occupations such as software and applications programmers and ICT support technicians, but also positions in the field of agricultural technology. As the agricultural sector becomes more automated and less labour intensive, the region will see an increasing number of jobs in the sector within the following fields:

  • GIS specialist
  • Information technology analyst
  • IT mobile app developer
  • IT configurator
  • Agricultural field consultant
  • Agricultural technician
  • Precision agricultural specialist
  • Bio informatics scientists
  • Agricultural operation manager
  • Food scientist
  • Environmental engineer
  • Biochemist


Food technology

Food processing and food tech, or the value add component of agribusiness, is a more likely prospect for employment growth than food production. Occupations in raw food production have been decreasing alongside improved technologies and other efficiencies that reduce the need for human labour. Food processing jobs have now surpassed the number of food production jobs nationally. Food technologists and product / process development scientists are two of the fastest growing jobs within the food processing sector. Some of the leading companies operating in this space in Bundaberg include:

  • AustChilli
  • Farm Fresh Fine Foods
  • Macadamias Australia
  • Pacific Gold Macadamias