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Change in rural land use extent

Key Finding

Since 1999, the proportion of Queensland that is rural land not settled has increased by 6.9 million hectares (ha) (or 34.26%). Cape York Natural Resource Management (NRM) region has experienced the greatest increase (2,039,292ha or 38.1%) whilst Southern Gulf NRM region has experienced the least increase (53,072ha or 3.0%).

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NRM (select locations to filter information)

Queensland

Mapping completed in 2017 found that 15.39% (or 27,007,155 hectares (ha)) of Queensland is rural land not settled (such as National parks and other conservation reserve tenures) and 84.08% (or 147,535,047ha) is rural settlement. Rural settlement comprises 146,248,916ha (or 83.34% of the state) that is rural land in extensive use (such as pastoral properties) and 1,286,131ha (or 0.73% of the state) that is rural land in intensive use (such as horticultural properties).

Over recent decades the proportion of Queensland that is rural land not settled has expanded (by 34.26% or (6,890,836ha since 1999) whilst rural land in extensive use has contracted (by 2.75% or 4,142,218ha since 1999) and rural land in intensive use has expanded (by 12.51% or 142,971ha since 1999).

Mining has contributed most to the expansion in rural land in intensive use across Queensland (96,975ha or 67.82% of total net change in the state) with the Fitzroy Basin Natural Resource Management (NRM) region most impacted (an increase of 69,400ha or 71.56% of total net change in that region).

When compared with Australia as a whole, a significantly smaller proportion of Queensland is rural land that is not settled (15.39% vs 40%) whilst the ratio of rural land in extensive use to rural land in intensive use is about the same (99:1).

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Burnett Mary

Mapping completed in 2017 shows that 13.19% (or 731,980ha) of Burnett Mary Natural Resource Management (NRM) region is rural land not settled and 84.02% (or 4,663,658ha) is rural settlement. Rural settlement comprises 4,507,390ha (or 81.20% of the region) that is rural land in extensive use (such as pastoral properties) and 156,268ha (or 2.82% of the region) that is rural land in intensive use (such as horticultural properties).

Over recent decades the proportion of Burnett Mary NRM region that is rural land not settled has expanded (by 9.97% or 66,381ha since 1999) whilst rural land in extensive use has contracted (by 1.58% or 72,302ha since 1999) as has land settlement in intensive use (by 7.78% or 13,186ha since 1999).

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Cape York

Mapping completed in 2015 shows that 54.34% (or 8,988,697ha) of Cape York Natural Resource Management (NRM) region is rural land not settled and 45.59% (or 7,541,298ha) is rural settlement. Rural settlement comprises 7,518,985ha (or 45.46 % of the region) that is rural land in extensive use (such as pastoral properties) and 22,313ha (or 0.13% of the region) that is rural land in intensive use (such as horticultural properties).

Over recent decades the proportion of Cape York NRM region that is rural land in extensive use has contracted (by 8.42% or 691,233ha since 1999) whilst the area in intensive use has increased (by 89.04% or 10,510ha since 1999) as has the area of rural land that is not settled (by 68.01% or 3,638,530ha since 1999).

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Desert Channels

Mapping completed in 2016 shows that 12.37% (or 6,311,128ha) of Desert Channels Natural Resource Management (NRM) region is rural land not settled and 87.59% (or 44,676,868ha) is rural settlement. Rural settlement comprises 44,668,158 ha (or 87.58% of the region) that is rural land in extensive use (such as pastoral properties) and 8,710ha (or 0.02% of the region) that is rural land in intensive use (such as horticultural properties).

Over recent decades the proportion of Desert Channels NRM region that is rural land in extensive use has contracted (by 1.99% or 908,920ha since 1999) whilst the area in intensive use has increased (by 20.53% or 1,484ha since 1999) as has the area of rural land that is not settled (by 16.76% or 906,106ha since 1999).

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Fitzroy Basin

Mapping completed in 2017 shows that 12.70% (or 1,982,210ha) of Fitzroy Basin Natural Resource Management (NRM) region is rural land not settled and 86.44% (or 13,494,398ha) is rural settlement. Rural settlement comprises 13,260,517ha (or 84.94% of the region) that is rural land in extensive use (such as pastoral properties) and 233,881ha (or 1.50% of the region) that is rural land in intensive use (such as horticultural properties).

Over recent decades the proportion of Fitzroy Basin NRM region that is rural land in extensive use has contracted (by 2.71% or 368,728ha since 1999) whilst the area in intensive use has increased (by 58.24% or 86,076ha since 1999) as has the area of rural land that is not settled (by 15.62% or 267,774ha since 1999).  Mining contributed 69,400ha or 80.62% of the total nett increase in the area of rural land in intensive use in the region since 1999.

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Northern Gulf

Mapping completed in 2015 shows that 12.67% (or 2,081,233ha) of Northern Gulf Natural Resource Management (NRM) region is rural land not settled and 87.28% (or 14,338,614ha) is rural settlement. Rural settlement comprises 14,312,253ha (or 87.12% of the region) that is rural land in extensive use (such as pastoral properties) and 26,361ha (or 0.16% of the region) that is rural land in intensive use (such as horticultural properties).

Over recent decades the proportion of Northern Gulf NRM region that is rural land in extensive use has contracted (by 3.84% or 571,915ha since 1999) whilst the area in intensive use has increased (by 5.19% or 1,300ha since 1999) as has the area of rural land that is not settled (by 37.71% or 569,927ha since 1999).

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North Queensland Dry Tropics

Mapping completed in 2015 shows that 9.18% (or 1,290,220ha) of NQ Dry Tropics Natural Resource Management (NRM) region is rural land not settled and 90.42% (or 12,713,584ha) is rural settlement. Rural settlement, comprises 12,564,342ha (or 89.36% of the region) that is rural land in extensive use (such as pastoral properties) and 149,242ha (or 1.06% of the region) that is rural land in intensive use (such as horticultural properties).

Over recent decades the proportion of NQ Dry Tropics NRM region that is rural land in extensive use has contracted (by 2.17% or 278,145ha since 1999) whilst the area in intensive use has increased (by 11.26% or 15,102ha since 1999) as has the area of rural land that is not settled (by 24.82% or 256,517ha since 1999).

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Reef

Mapping completed in 2015 found that 37.95% (or 347,327ha) of Reef Natural Resource Management (NRM) region is rural land not settled and 57.95% (or 530,369ha) is rural settlement. Rural settlement comprises 374,663ha (or 40.94% of the region) that is rural land in extensive use (such as pastoral properties) and 155,705ha (or 17.01% of the region) that is rural land in intensive use (such as horticultural properties).

Over recent decades the proportion of Reef NRM region that is rural land not settled has increased (by 5.24% or 17,308ha since 1999) whilst rural land in extensive use has contracted (by 2.92% or 11,264ha since 1999) as has intensive use (by 7.21% or 12,106ha since 1999).

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South East Queensland

Mapping completed in 2012–2013 shows that 24.74% (or 574,952ha) of South East Queensland (SEQ) Natural Resource Management (NRM) region is rural land not settled and 59.76% (or 1,388,890ha) is rural settlement. Rural settlement comprises 1,294,386ha (or 55.69% of the region) that is rural land in extensive use (such as pastoral properties) and 94,504ha (or 4.07% of the region) that is rural land in intensive use (such as horticultural properties).

Over recent decades the proportion of SEQ NRM region that is rural land that is not settled has increased (by 19.17% or 92,505ha since 1999) whilst the area that is rural land in extensive use has contracted (by 8.33% or 117,603ha since 1999) as has the area in intensive use (by 6.92% or 7,025ha since 1999).

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Southern Gulf

Mapping completed in 2015 found that 9.31% (or 1,806,185ha) of Southern Gulf Natural Resource Management (NRM) region is rural land not settled and 90.63% (or 17,590,671ha) is rural settlement. Rural settlement comprises 17,576,497ha (or 90.56% of the region) that is rural land in extensive use (such as pastoral properties) and just 14,174ha (or 0.07% of the region) that is rural land in intensive use (such as horticultural properties).

Over recent decades the proportion of Southern Gulf NRM region that is rural land that is not settled has increased (by 3.03% or 53,072ha since 1999) as has rural land in intensive use (by 104.35% or 7,238ha since 1999) whilst extensive use has contracted (by 0.35% or 60,931ha since 1999).

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Southern Queensland

Mapping completed in 2015 found that 5.43% (or 1,703,440ha) of Southern Queensland Natural Resource Management (NRM) region is rural land not settled and 94.28% (or 29,603,837ha) is rural settlement. Rural settlement comprises 29,236,602ha (or 93.11% of the region) that is rural land in extensive use (such as pastoral properties) and 367,236ha (or 1.17% of the region) that is rural land in intensive use (such as horticultural properties).

Over recent decades the proportion of Southern Queensland NRM region that is rural land that is not settled has increased (by 55.12% or 605,309ha since 1999) whilst rural land in extensive use has contracted (by 2.24% or 668,530ha since 1999) and the area in intensive use has increased (by 18.30% or 56,799ha since 1999).

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Torres Strait

Mapping completed in 2015 shows that 98.40% (or 26,759ha) of Torres Strait Natural Resource Management (NRM) region is rural land not settled and 0.15% (or 40ha) is rural settlement. Rural settlement comprises 3ha (or 0.01% of the region) that is rural land in extensive use (such as pastoral properties) and 37ha (or 0.13% of the region) that is rural land in intensive use (such as horticultural properties).

Over recent decades the proportion of Torres Strait NRM region that is rural land not settled has expanded (by 2.50% since 1999) whilst rural settlement has contracted (by 24.60% since 1999).

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Wet Tropics

Mapping completed in 2015 found that 52.72% (or 1,163,024ha) of Wet Tropics Natural Resource Management (NRM) region is rural land not settled and 45.01% (or 992,821ha) is rural settlement. Rural settlement comprises 935,120ha (or 42.39%% of the region) that is rural land in extensive use (such as pastoral properties) and 57,701ha (or 2.62% of the region) that is rural land in intensive use (such as horticultural properties).

Over recent decades the proportion of Wet Tropics NRM region that is rural land not settled has expanded (by 50.59% or 390,703ha since 1999) whilst rural land in extensive use has contracted (by 29.57% or 392,649ha since 1999) as has intensive use (by 5.35% or 3,258ha since 1999).

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Relevant Sustainable Development Goals’ targets

  • GOAL 11: SUSTAINABLE CITIES AND COMMUNITIES
  • GOAL 12: RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION
  • GOAL 15: LIFE ON LAND

Rural area growth between 1999 and 2017*

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Use19992017
Rural Land in Intensive Use1,143,1601,286,131
Rural Land in Extensive Use150,391,135146,248,916
Rural Land Not Settled20,116,31927,007,155

*2017 data is composed of regional data sourced at different times

Proportion of rural and other areas as at 2017*

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Use2017
Rural Land in Intensive Use1,286,131
Rural Land in Extensive Use146,248,916
Rural Land Not Settled27,007,155
Non Rural area935,113

*2017 data is composed of regional data sourced at different times

Rural area growth between 1999 and current by region

Rural area growth between 1999 and 2017 in Burnett Mary NRM region

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Use19992017
Rural Land in Intensive Use169,453156,268
Rural Land in Extensive Use4,579,6924,507,390
Rural Land Not Settled665,600731,980

Rural area growth between 1999 and 2015 in Cape York NRM region

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Use19992015
Rural Land in Intensive Use11,80322,313
Rural Land in Extensive Use8,210,2187,518,985
Rural Land Not Settled5,350,1678,988,697

Rural area growth between 1999 and 2016 in Desert Channels NRM region

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Use19992016
Rural Land in Intensive Use7,2268,710
Rural Land in Extensive Use45,577,07844,668,158
Rural Land Not Settled5,405,0226,311,128

Rural area growth between 1999 and 2017 in Fitzroy Basin NRM region

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Use19992017
Rural Land in Intensive Use147,805233,881
Rural Land in Extensive Use13,629,24513,260,517
Rural Land Not Settled1,714,4361,982,210

Rural area growth between 1999 and 2012–13 in South East Queensland NRM region

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Use19992012–13
Rural Land in Intensive Use101,52994,504
Rural Land in Extensive Use1,411,9891,294,386
Rural Land Not Settled482,447574,952

Rural area growth between 1999 and 2015 in Northern Gulf NRM region

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Use19992015
Rural Land in Intensive Use25,06126,361
Rural Land in Extensive Use14,884,16814,312,253
Rural Land Not Settled1,511,3062,081,233

Rural area growth between 1999 and 2015 in North Queensland Dry Tropics NRM region

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Use19992015
Rural Land in Intensive Use134,140149,242
Rural Land in Extensive Use12,842,48712,564,342
Rural Land Not Settled1,033,7021,290,220

Rural area growth between 1999 and 2015 in Reef NRM region

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Use19992015
Rural Land in Intensive Use167,811155,705
Rural Land in Extensive Use385,928374,663
Rural Land Not Settled330,019347,327

Rural area growth between 1999 and 2015 in Southern Gulf NRM region

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Use19992015
Rural Land in Intensive Use6,93614,174
Rural Land in Extensive Use17,637,42817,576,497
Rural Land Not Settled1,753,1131,806,185

Rural area growth between 1999 and 2015 in Southern Queensland NRM region

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Use19992015
Rural Land in Intensive Use310,436367,236
Rural Land in Extensive Use29,905,13229,236,602
Rural Land Not Settled1,098,1311,703,440

Rural area growth between 1999 and 2015 in Wet Tropics NRM region

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Use19992015
Rural Land in Intensive Use60,95957,701
Rural Land in Extensive Use1,327,769935,120
Rural Land Not Settled772,3221,163,024

Rural area growth between 1999 and 2015 in Torres Strait NRM region

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Use19992015
Rural Land in Intensive Use037
Rural Land in Extensive Use03
Rural Land Not Settled26,10626,759

Rural area growth between 1999 and 2017 in Burnett Mary NRM region

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Use19992017
Rural Land in Intensive Use169,453156,268
Rural Land in Extensive Use4,579,6924,507,390
Rural Land Not Settled665,600731,980

Proportion of Burnett Mary NRM region made up of rural and other areas in 2017

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Use2017
Rural Land in Intensive Use156,268
Rural Land in Extensive Use4,507,390
Rural Land Not Settled731,980
Non Rural area155,186

Proportion of Queensland made up of rural areas in Burnett Mary NRM region in 2017

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NameValue
Burnett Mary NRM region5,395,638
All other Qld170,081,677

Rural area growth between 1999 and 2015 in Cape York NRM region

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Use19992015
Rural Land in Intensive Use11,80322,313
Rural Land in Extensive Use8,210,2187,518,985
Rural Land Not Settled5,350,1678,988,697

Proportion of Cape York NRM region made up of rural and other areas in 2015

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Use2015
Rural Land in Intensive Use22,313
Rural Land in Extensive Use7,518,985
Rural Land Not Settled8,988,697
Non Rural area11,462

Proportion of Queensland made up of rural areas in Cape York NRM region in 2015

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NameValue
Cape York NRM region16,529,995
All other Qld158,947,320

Rural area growth between 1999 and 2016 in Desert Channels NRM region

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Use19992016
Rural Land in Intensive Use7,2268,710
Rural Land in Extensive Use45,577,07844,668,158
Rural Land Not Settled5,405,0226,311,128

Proportion of Desert Channels NRM region made up of rural and other areas in 2016

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Use2016
Rural Land in Intensive Use8,710
Rural Land in Extensive Use44,668,158
Rural Land Not Settled6,311,128
Non Rural area17,162

Proportion of Queensland made up of rural areas in Desert Channels NRM region in 2016

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NameValue
Desert Channels NRM region50,987,996
All other Qld124,489,319

Rural area growth between 1999 and 2017 in Fitzroy Basin NRM region

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Use19992017
Rural Land in Intensive Use147,805233,881
Rural Land in Extensive Use13,629,24513,260,517
Rural Land Not Settled1,714,4361,982,210

Proportion of Fitzroy Basin NRM region made up of rural and other areas in 2017

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Use2017
Rural Land in Intensive Use233,881
Rural Land in Extensive Use13,260,517
Rural Land Not Settled1,982,210
Non Rural area134,890

Proportion of Queensland made up of rural areas in Fitzroy Basin NRM region in 2017

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NameValue
Fitzroy Basin NRM region15,476,608
All other Qld160,000,707

Rural area growth between 1999 and 2012–13 in South East Queensland NRM region

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Use19992012–13
Rural Land in Intensive Use101,52994,504
Rural Land in Extensive Use1,411,9891,294,386
Rural Land Not Settled482,447574,952

Proportion of South East Queensland NRM region made up of rural and other areas in 2012–13

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Use2012–13
Rural Land in Intensive Use94,504
Rural Land in Extensive Use1,294,386
Rural Land Not Settled574,952
Non Rural area360,250

Proportion of Queensland made up of rural areas in South East Queensland NRM region in 2012–13

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NameValue
South East Queensland NRM region1,963,842
All other Qld173,513,473

Rural area growth between 1999 and 2015 in Northern Gulf NRM region

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Use19992015
Rural Land in Intensive Use25,06126,361
Rural Land in Extensive Use14,884,16814,312,253
Rural Land Not Settled1,511,3062,081,233

Proportion of Northern Gulf NRM region made up of rural and other areas in 2015

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Use2015
Rural Land in Intensive Use26,361
Rural Land in Extensive Use14,312,253
Rural Land Not Settled2,081,233
Non Rural area8,481

Proportion of Queensland made up of rural areas in Northern Gulf NRM region in 2015

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NameValue
Northern Gulf NRM region16,419,847
All other Qld159,057,468

Rural area growth between 1999 and 2015 in North Queensland Dry Tropics NRM region

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Use19992015
Rural Land in Intensive Use134,140149,242
Rural Land in Extensive Use12,842,48712,564,342
Rural Land Not Settled1,033,7021,290,220

Proportion of North Queensland Dry Tropics NRM region made up of rural and other areas in 2015

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Use2015
Rural Land in Intensive Use149,242
Rural Land in Extensive Use12,564,342
Rural Land Not Settled1,290,220
Non Rural area56,393

Proportion of Queensland made up of rural areas in North Queensland Dry Tropics NRM region in 2015

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NameValue
North Queensland Dry Tropics NRM region14,003,804
All other Qld161,473,511

Rural area growth between 1999 and 2015 in Reef NRM region

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Use19992015
Rural Land in Intensive Use167,811155,705
Rural Land in Extensive Use385,928374,663
Rural Land Not Settled330,019347,327

Proportion of Reef NRM region made up of rural and other areas in 2015

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Use2015
Rural Land in Intensive Use155,705
Rural Land in Extensive Use374,663
Rural Land Not Settled347,327
Non Rural area37,547

Proportion of Queensland made up of rural areas in Reef NRM region in 2015

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NameValue
Reef NRM region877,695
All other Qld174,599,620

Rural area growth between 1999 and 2015 in Southern Gulf NRM region

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Use19992015
Rural Land in Intensive Use6,93614,174
Rural Land in Extensive Use17,637,42817,576,497
Rural Land Not Settled1,753,1131,806,185

Proportion of Southern Gulf NRM region made up of rural and other areas in 2015

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Use2015
Rural Land in Intensive Use14,174
Rural Land in Extensive Use17,576,497
Rural Land Not Settled1,806,185
Non Rural area11,939

Proportion of Queensland made up of rural areas in Southern Gulf NRM region in 2015

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NameValue
Southern Gulf NRM region19,396,856
All other Qld156,080,459

Rural area growth between 1999 and 2015 in Southern Queensland NRM region

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Use19992015
Rural Land in Intensive Use310,436367,236
Rural Land in Extensive Use29,905,13229,236,602
Rural Land Not Settled1,098,1311,703,440

Proportion of Southern Queensland NRM region made up of rural and other areas in 2015

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Use2015
Rural Land in Intensive Use367,236
Rural Land in Extensive Use29,236,602
Rural Land Not Settled1,703,440
Non Rural area91,421

Proportion of Queensland made up of rural areas in Southern Queensland NRM region in 2015

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NameValue
Southern Queensland NRM region31,307,278
All other Qld144,170,037

Rural area growth between 1999 and 2015 in Wet Tropics NRM region

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Use19992015
Rural Land in Intensive Use60,95957,701
Rural Land in Extensive Use1,327,769935,120
Rural Land Not Settled772,3221,163,024

Proportion of Wet Tropics NRM region made up of rural and other areas in 2015

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Use2015
Rural Land in Intensive Use57,701
Rural Land in Extensive Use935,120
Rural Land Not Settled1,163,024
Non Rural area49,989

Proportion of Queensland made up of rural areas in Wet Tropics NRM region in 2015

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NameValue
Wet Tropics NRM region2,155,845
All other Qld173,321,470

Rural area growth between 1999 and 2015 in Torres Strait NRM region

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Use19992015
Rural Land in Intensive Use037
Rural Land in Extensive Use03
Rural Land Not Settled26,10626,759

Proportion of Torres Strait NRM region made up of rural and other areas in 2015

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Use2015
Rural Land in Intensive Use37
Rural Land in Extensive Use3
Rural Land Not Settled26,759
Non Rural area394

Proportion of Queensland made up of rural areas in Torres Strait NRM region in 2015

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NameValue
Torres Strait NRM region26,799
All other Qld175,450,516

Download data from Queensland Government data

Metadata

Change in the extent of land used for rural purposes in each of the 11 NRM Regions that cover Queensland between 1999 and either 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016 or 2017 (depending on the region) mapped using the standards the Australian Land Use and Management Classification (updated to the version most current at the time of mapping).