GROW WITH THE FLOW
Confidence in agribusiness rises with three Emerald properties ready to be sold
RECENT rain has revived some confidence in Central Queensland’s near drought-stricken state while optimism in the area’s agribusiness sector continues to rise.
The pending sale of three major large-scale adjoining agri-business properties outside Emerald – Gindie, Fairbairn and Emerald Grapes – is also predicted to unlock potential development in the region, and cultivate further confidence in the agricultural production sector.
Director of Emerald’s Brennan Mayne Agribusiness, Jim Brennan, said this week the rain had provided a “tremendous” start to the season: “The sort of rain, and the amount we’ve had … it’s great to see.”
Mr Brennan said he believed there was currently a sound platform for sustainable growth for the region.
“I’ve got enormous confidence in the future of agribusiness in Central Queensland,” he said.
The three properties currently for sale – with a closing date of October 30 – were part of a “pent-up” market, meaning the region was likely to see land prices continue to strengthen.
Mr Brennan said there were “very few properties of viable scale” available on the rural property market.
“I think it demonstrates that those sectors are profitable,” he said.
“That’s certainly what we’re seeing in our business, and that’s definitely good for the region.”
Mr Brennan said the flow-on effects were also positive as, when properties were profitable, owners spent more on them; for example, improving pastures, water facilities, fencing and yards.
“There’s also more money being spent on equipment upgrades. Certainly businesses that are profitable are good for the region,” he said.
Mr Brennan said citrus and grapes were productive, and there was also an expanding macadamia industry.
“Anything to do with horticulture and viticulture involves a big investment, and there’s a lot of money going in to establish it.
“And once it comes to harvesting, they’re very labour-intensive so, for growth, those industries are good for the region.
“In Australian terms, Central Queensland is relatively reliable and highly productive fertile country and, generally, the agribusiness enterprises are of sufficient scale to be viable.
“I think Central Queensland broadly is in a sound financial position and that places it well for future growth and expansion.”
Colliers International associate director transaction services, rural and agribusiness, Ben Forrest, said the three sizeable properties for sale – currently under single ownership – were proof of the region’s capabilities for variable production and represented a current boost of optimism in agribusiness.
Mr Forrest said the sales were being separated by “sector, type and purpose” with Gindie focussed on irrigation and dry-land farming, Fairbairn – a former citrus plantation – now an opportunity for potential development, and Emerald Grapes an established grape and lychee operation.
They are being sold individually or as an aggregation.
Mr Forrest believed the sale could “unlock some development potential in the area” with some of the land currently under-used.
He said the properties, 10km-20km from Emerald and near the airport, all had infrastructure to source water from Lake Maraboon.
“Around Emerald, this is a bit of a one-off because of the three assets together. But in terms of their individual identity, it’s common trading.”
He said the agribusiness sector had been strengthening over the past few years and was set to bring back profitability and productivity to the region.
“The properties are in a strategic location and, in the long-run, will really be sought after. The water is what really unlocks this enterprise. It underpins the operation.”