Banana Shire

Banana Shire is a shire of opportunity, a place ready to realise its potential. With abundant natural resources, significant natural areas, opportunities for increased tourism, diverse rural industries, a range of appealing housing options and communities with a cooperative spirit, Banana Shire anticipates a prosperous future.

The Shire was named after the first township in the region (Banana), which in turn was named for the burial site of a huge dun coloured bullock named ‘Banana’.

Bananas are not grown in Banana Shire however many other crops including wheat, cotton, sorghum, chickpeas, mung beans, table grapes, herbs and lucerne hay are produced. Beef, pork, red claw and squab add to the variety of agricultural products grown throughout the Shire.

The main administration centre of Biloela is situated 120 km west of the growing industrial city and Port of Gladstone, an easy drive to the city of Rockhampton and is serviced by the Leichhardt, Dawson and Burnett Highways.

Banana Shire is sparsely populated, with its population of 15,626 people spread over 28,606 square kilometres. The Shire is an appealing mix of larger service centres, rural villages and farms with Moura, Taroom and Theodore being three other significant urban centres in the Shire. Other smaller population centres include Banana, Baralaba, Cracow, Dululu, Goovigen, Jambin, Thangool and Wowan.

The Shire’s location close to the Great Barrier Reef, makes it an ideal tourist destination, it has many natural attractions, including gorges, rivers and national parks together with human made attractions and other industrial development.

Climate

Banana Shire has a warm subtropical climate, with hot to warm temperatures all year round. Winter nights can occasionally drop below freezing; however winters are usually warm and dry, with pleasant sunny days.
It has an average daily temperature range of 13.6 °C to 27.9 °C and on average it receives 655 mm of rainfall each year.

Population

A total of 15,626 people live in the Banana Shire. Banana Shire has a youthful population with a median age of 35 and children aged 0 – 14 making up 23.5% of the population.

The majority of population growth is distributed amongst the towns of Biloela, Moura and Taroom. Biloela has a population of 6,298 people and is the main population and administration centre in the Shire.
Moura is the Shires second most populous town with a population of 1,899 people at the 2011 Census.
Taroom is the main service centre supporting the southern districts of the Shire and is a quintessential ‘cattle town’ with a population of 873 persons in the town area.

Population projections indicate relatively steady growth across the Shires major towns of between 1 and 2 percent per annum.

A proportion of the Banana Shire population includes non-resident workers engaged in mining and resource, construction and agricultural activities in the shire.

Our Society

Lifestyle

Banana Shire provides a variety of recreation, employment, education and lifestyle options.
Sport and recreation plays a major role in the lifestyle of Banana Shire residents with extensive community and sporting groups to choose from.

Banana Shire offers an array of freshwater fishing prospects including the Dawson River and Lake Callide. Saratoga and other Australian Natives are a plenty in the Dawson River with the wide open expanses of Lake Callide often producing metre plus Barramundi.

Kroombit Tops, Expedition, Robinson, Precipice, Cania and Isla Gorge National Parks and established recreational waterways and lakes provide for those seeking an active lifestyle or wanting get close to nature.

For those with an interest, many towns in the Shire have a rich history, which has been well documented in historical villages and museums. Pastoral occupation began in the 1850s; the Taroom settlement emerged in 1856 and is home to the Queensland Heritage listed ‘Leichhardt Tree’; and Theodore was architecturally designed by Walter Burley Griffin in the early 1920s, before he went on to design Australia’s capital city, Canberra.

Education

Early childhood and education are accommodated throughout the Shire with numerous child care facilities, 11 public primary schools, 3 private primary schools, 2 high schools, 3 prep to year 10 and Central Queensland TAFE facilities.

Biloela has the largest range of education facilities with Moura and Taroom each supporting primary and high schools.

Employment

Some 7,731 persons were recorded as being in the labour force. Of these 67.9% were employed full time, 22.6% were employed part-time and 2.6% were unemployed.

Agriculture (17.2%), Coal Mining (15.1%), Education (5.7%), Food Product Manufacturing (4.8%) and Public Administration (3.9%) are the five top industries of employment in the Banana Shire.

Major employers include the Biloela Teys Brothers Meat Processing Facility, Callide Power Station (Biloela), Queensland Nitrate Plant (Moura), Education Queensland and the Banana Shire Council.

Strong agricultural and mining sectors combine to provide specialisations in manufacturing, technician and trades workers and machinery operator occupations.

Local retail and professional services prosper with sustained employment supporting respective towns and rural areas and dominant agriculture and mining industries.

The median total family income for the Shire is approximately $85,592 with the total personal income estimated at $33,000 per year.

Employment by Industry

Industry Jobs
Agriculture, forestry and fishing 1,353
Mining 1,255
Manufacturing 605
Electricity, gas, water and waste services 306
Construction 372
Wholesale trade 162
Retail trade 553
Accommodation and food services 365
Transport, postal and warehousing 243
Information media and telecommunications 20
Financial and insurance services 96
Rental, hiring and real estate services 67
Professional, scientific and technical services 162
Administrative and support services 215
Public administration and safety 354
Education and training 495
Health care and social assistance 496
Arts and recreation services 19
Inadequately described/Not stated 160
Other services 228
Total 9537

Source: ABS, Census of Population and Housing, 2011,
Basic Community Profile – B44

Economy

Banana Shire has a viable economy that is complex and diverse. It is progressive with many opportunities in Industry, Business and Tourism.

Major industries in the shire include coal mining, beef production, power generation, dryland cropping and irrigation cropping such as lucerne and cotton.

Towns and small settlements each have vibrant and vital town centres and main street business areas. These busy places contain a mix of businesses and ample car parking. Biloela, Moura and Taroom each have adequate, accessible, well serviced and available industrial land supplies.

The Shire is well positioned to support growth in the tourism sector with significant natural and manmade attractions, adequate supporting infrastructure and high levels of exposure within Australian and International markets. Travel estimates for the Banana Shire conservatively place tourist numbers between 95,000 – 100,000 visitors annually.

The Banana Shire is a significant agricultural production area. A variety of soil types suitable for the production of a wide range of crops, together with land suitable for beef cattle breeding and fattening, give the Shire enormous agricultural potential, with further potential for processing and value-adding.
Significant cotton production occurs in the Dawson Valley with Queensland Cotton ginning facilities located in Moura. Major intensive livestock production and processing facilities are also established in the region. Aquaculture and niche market agricultural pursuits are also becoming more prominent in the area.

The gross value of livestock production from the Banana Shire in 2010–2011 was $151.8 million. In 2010–2011, the Banana Shire produced $12.6 million of cotton, $10.6 million of legumes and $15.2 million of cereal crops.

The Banana Shire contains significant mineral, coal, gas and extractive resources including established underground and open-cut thermal and coking coal mining, minerals and coal seam gas (CSG) extraction. Growth in the resources sector is expected with a significant number of proposals for new mining operations and CSG extraction and regional infrastructure.

Mining in the region is supported by existing and proposed investment in supporting infrastructure (electricity, water, road, rail and pipelines) and proximity to the Gladstone Port.

Transport

The Shires major towns and smaller centres are all accessible via major inter and intra state road transport routes and local roads.

The Thangool aerodrome located 11 kilometers from Biloela has regular flights to Brisbane.

Banana Shire is strategically located on the Brisbane and Melbourne freight route via the Burnett and Leichhardt Highways, is connected to the port city of Gladstone via the Dawson Highway and to Brisbane via the Burnett Highway and through regular commercial air services.

Major freight and transport companies operate within Banana Shire.

Rail infrastructure transports commodities from the Banana Shire to the Port of Gladstone.

Housing

The Banana Shire offers a diverse range of appealing urban, rural residential and small scale village living options.

Biloela, Moura and Taroom accommodate the majority of the Shires traditional residential and new housing. Opportunities for retirement living and higher density housing are available within each town.
The townships of Baralaba, Cracow, Dululu, Goovigen, Jambin, Thangool, Theodore and Wowan exhibit unique housing in small scale village settings.

A variety of serviced and partially serviced rural residential land is also available in each town.
Median rents range from $250 per week for a 2 bedroom unit and $300 per week for a 3 bedroom house. Median house prices in Biloela were $292,500 in 2014 with the balance of the Shire recording a median house price of 265,000.

Non-resident workforce accommodation has generally been confined to mine / construction sites outside urban areas or in discrete locations near towns and villages. This has kept housing and rental prices stable.

Health Services and Aged Care

Communities in the Banana Shire are well serviced with health services and aged care. There are 6 hospitals including new facilities in Biloela and Moura. Twelve aged cares services are located in the Shire with the number of aged care operational places in 2013 at 177.

Emergency Services

Banana Shire is serviced by Queensland Police Service facilities, Queensland Ambulance Services, State Emergency Services, Queensland Fire and Rescue Services and rural fire brigade services.

Events

In addition to an abundance of attractions, the Banana Shire hosts a range of events held throughout the year. Events such as country horse racing, freshwater fishing classics, markets and festivals celebrating individual community histories and cultures make the destination come alive with activity.

Biloela is host to the Annual Old Wheels in Motion Rally and Swap Meet on the third weekend in July each year at the QLD Heritage Park complex.

Moura’s annual Coal and Country Festival is held on the fourth Saturday in August, with a Street Procession, Coal Shoveling and Roof Bolting Championships, Rodeo and numerous other events, highlighting the town and district’s diverse attractions.

Dawson River Festival Dawson River Towns (Baralaba, Moura, Theodore and Taroom) combine to present the Dawson River Festival. Each town hosts an event on the Dawson River on one weekend of the year.

Baralaba, Moura and Theodore each host annual fishing classics with significant patronage and plentiful catches.

The Thangool Cup held annually at ‘Forde Park’ in September draws a huge crowd for a day of country horse.

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