Staff at peanut factory

The Toowoomba Region economic profile - 2022

A summary of the information held in the Toowoomba Region Economic Profile 2022 is included below.

Rich traditions

Over its rich history, the Toowoomba Region has transformed its agricultural base into a diverse and strong economy, offering a range of business, investment and employment opportunities. The Toowoomba Region generated $11.7 billion in Gross Regional Product (GRP) in 2020/21 and supported an estimated 84,614 jobs. This represented around 3.3%

  • In 2020, the Toowoomba Region faced significant challenges. The region was already recovering from a prolonged drought when COVID-19 pandemic hit. Toowoomba’s GRP is estimated to have fallen by $127 million, or -4.5%, in the June Quarter 2020. Around 3,570 jobs were estimated to have been lost in the same period, and even more were only employed because of the JobKeeper program. This decline was far smaller than the average across Queensland and Australia. Toowoomba’s diverse industry and business resilience helped weather the impacts and economic recovery was underway by 2021 with the unemployment rate one of the lowest in Queensland.

  • This strong position today grew from agricultural beginnings that took advantage of highly fertile farming land. In 2020/21, Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing contributed $504 million to the Toowoomba Region economy with key outputs in eggs, beef, cotton, cereal crops, poultry, milk, and pulses. Prolonged drought conditions weighed on Toowoomba’s agricultural sector from 2018 to 2020. But the local production returned to growth conditions in 2021 with this growth having flowon benefits for other businesses in Toowoomba.

  • As the capital of the Darling Downs, the Toowoomba Region plays an important regional economic role, particularly in education, health, mining, business services, defence and construction. Health Care and Social Assistance is the largest employing industry and the second largest in terms of contribution to the GRP. The industry performed extremely well over the last decade, adding nearly 4,865 jobs (48% increase) and over $551 million worth of economic value (78% increase). In 2020/21, the industry contributed $1,253 million to the Toowoomba Region economy.

  • Toowoomba is intensifying its position as a major regional business service centre with key knowledge intensive business services like Financial and Insurance Services and Professional, Scientific and Technical Services growing by 1,302 jobs and $358 million in value added in the last decade.

  • The region’s growing CBD employment agglomeration and significant education and health anchors reinforce this major city role. The rise of remote working also has the potential to shift high skilled jobs from capital cities to Regional Cities like Toowoomba, especially given the cost-of-living advantage provided.

  • Manufacturing has leveraged off these rich traditions to add value to the agricultural and transport and logistics sectors, as well as supporting mining operations in the Surat Basin. Manufacturing contributes $847 million to the Toowoomba Region economy and is the region’s second largest international exporter which is driven by the region’s specialisation in food product manufacturing.

  • Growth in mining operations in the Surat Basin has added another string to the Toowoomba Region economy with exceptionally strong growth in mining support services (e.g. well drilling and servicing businesses locating in the region). Mining contributed $996 million in 2020/21 and is the region’s largest international exporter. Recent investment in renewable energy will build on the potential of the region’s energy and resource sector.

  • Tourism has contributed to the diversity of the Toowoomba Region economy. While the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted international visitation levels, events like the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers have still maintained very high visitation highlighting the potential from this sector. The growth of sports and event tourism is expected to help grow this sector and business tourism has also emerged as an important driver of visitation.

  • The Transport and Logistics sector has also emerged by taking advantage of the Toowoomba Region’s strategic location as the western gateway to the $237 billion South East Queensland economy; proximity to the Surat and Cooper Basins; and prime position on the Melbourne to Brisbane freight route.

  • This gateway position also enhances the trade role of the Toowoomba Region economy. Exports to domestic and international markets generated $7.7 billion in 2020/21 and are a strategic driver of economic growth. The Toowoomba Region’s largest export industries include Mining, Manufacturing, and Agriculture.

  • Toowoomba has been ranked as one of Australia’s most family-friendly cities and the Toowoomba Region ranked 9th in Regional Australia’s 2020 most liveable regions study with high scores for health, education and economic opportunities1. With a house price-to-income ratio lower than most of South East Queensland, it is also a highly affordable place to live.

  • Housing diversity, affordability and liveability advantages of the region have combined to become important drivers of population, skills and business growth. Skills have improved strongly in recent times, and in 2016 around 61.0% of the labour force held education qualifications, higher than the Regional Queensland average of 59.6%.

1 Ipsos, 2020, Life in Australia 2020

Toowoomba Region’s economic role as a regional capital city, agricultural hub, knowledge and research centre, and freight and logistics hub, provides enormous strengths and competitive advantages. This role will be pivotal in the Toowoomba Region positioning itself to catch the next wave of economic, employment and investment opportunities. COVID-19 is also likely to impact the future demographic and economic environment across Australia with Toowoomba well placed to benefit from some of these shifts.

 The next wave will be driven by:

  • Strong population growth, with the population projected to grow to 204,332 people by 2041, based on the State Government’s medium population scenario.2 This will help support critical mass in economic activity and innovation.

  • An infrastructure pipeline of around $13.1 billion in 2020. The Toowoomba Region is on an upward spiral of economic development, with city-shaping infrastructure transforming productivity, accessibility and amenity - e.g. major CBD investment, Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport and Business Park, Toowoomba Bypass (formerly Toowoomba Second Range Crossing), Inland Rail Project and the Toowoomba Enterprise Hub.

  • Unlocking links to the large Asian market will present significant opportunities for businesses in the Toowoomba Region, building on its international trade of agriculture, food manufacturing, resources, education and tourism.

  • Substantial growth in national freight movements, with the Toowoomba Region’s strategic location and infrastructure ready to capture the opportunities this provides. Rapid growth in online shopping because of the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to drive additional demand for industrial land and warehouse investment.

  • Growing importance of regional cities with the Toowoomba Region to benefit from affordability, housing choice and liveability advantages. COVID 19 has impacted demographic change and where people are living. Recent migration data shows that Regional Queensland had the largest in movement of any broad region with strong growth driven by Sydney, regional NSW and Melbourne.

  • Capturing a share of the growth in remote working. COVID-19 has accelerated the transition to remote work and this shift has the potential to further increase demand for working in regional cities like Toowoomba. This can create opportunities for regional cities like Toowoomba to build further on its professional service advantage

2 Pre-COVID impacted forecast

Economic development documents

Austrade Investment Case Study Medicinal Cannabis Venture
Bold Ambitions 2038: Toowoomba Region Economic Development Strategy (May 2018)
Build a Better Business Course Guide
Build a Better Business Flyer 2021
Building & Development Activity Report 2021
Building & Development Activity Report 2022
Community Growth Action Plan - Clifton
Community Growth Action Plan - Crows Nest
Community Growth Action Plan - Millmerran
Community Growth Action Plan - Oakey
Community Growth Action Plan - Pittsworth
Creative CBD Toowoomba Fact sheet
Creative CBD Toowoomba FAQs for Property Owners
Creative CBD Toowoomba Readiness Checklist
Industry profile - Education
Industry profile - Education (Chinese version)
Investment Case Study Boomaroo Nursery 2020
Investment Case Study Mort & Co 2020
Investment Case Study Oakey Beef Exports 2020
Investment Case Study Qantas Group Pilot Training Academy 2020
Investment Case Study Stahmann Farms 2020
Investment Prospectus Executive Summary for Toowoomba CBD and PDA
Investment Prospectus Toowoomba CBD and PDA
Metiisto Chocolate Wins Global Award
Railway Parklands Master Plan
Railway Parklands Master Plan
Small Business Friendly Council Charter
The Shop Top Living Design Guide
Toowoomba CBD Analysis 2020
Toowoomba Investment Prospectus 2020
Toowoomba Lifestyle Case Study
Toowoomba Railway Parklands Master Plan
Toowoomba Railway Parklands Master Plan review report 2018
Toowoomba Railway Parklands PDA Development Scheme Amendment No1 - Submissions Report - MEDQ approved
Toowoomba Region Advanced Manufacturing Profile 2022
Toowoomba Region Agriculture Profile 2022
Toowoomba Region Economic Profile 2021
Toowoomba Region Economic Profile 2022
Toowoomba Region Food Product Manufacturing 2022
Toowoomba Region Health and Wellbeing Profile 2022
Toowoomba Region Transport and Logistics Profile 2022
TRC CBD Redevelopment Brochure