Economic Development

The strength of Hervey Bay’s economy is determined largely by the natural attractiveness of the region, lifestyle, the influx of both visitors and permanent residents, investors and marine resources. Tourism, the building industry and their support services are major enterprises in Hervey Bay. The city currently attracts approximately one million tourists each year.

Since the 1980s the population of Hervey Bay has had one of the highest population growth rates (in percentage terms) in Australia, leading to enormous increases over the past decade in residential housing, commercial and industrial properties. The University and Library buildings and manufacturing and retail complexes have added to the growth of the local building industry.

The mining and grazing industries of earlier years are now mostly gone but sugarcane is still a major industry, supplying the sugar mill in nearby Maryborough.

Cattle, citrus, pineapple and some plantation forestry are continuing industries in Hervey Bay. Seafood processing is a significant employer, with seafood exports to markets as far away as Japan.

Transport is no problem.

There is easy access to the main highway, electric rail, air services and the main ports of Brisbane and Gladstone for container and bulk exports. Manufacturing items for the building industry, consumer durables, high-tech componentry, specialised engineering equipment, furniture, leisure products, marine and aviation equipment and services are all identified as industries with local and export markets that may be developed profitably.

Tourism support business opportunities abound such as souvenirs incorporating Aboriginal and other local artwork, fashion clothing, packaging, food (especially small crop farming for niche markets). Hervey Bay City Council and the Hervey Bay Tourism and Development Bureau are focused on encouraging responsible tourism and economic development initiatives. Facilities can be physically and financially packaged to suit the needs of a diversity of businesses.

There are substantial opportunities in the further responsible development of Hervey Bay’s natural and human resources for innovative, creative business initiatives leading to lucrative export markets. South-East Queensland alone provides a potential market of 2.4 million people within a four hour drive.

The mix of skills, professions and experience of a population drawn from many diverse backgrounds and age groups is a tremendous asset in terms of growth potential.


Hervey Bay’s manufacturing and processing industries are based on the natural resources of the area and on the strong population growth driving the building industry. Strong growth in the number of manufacturing and processing enterprises established in Hervey Bay during the past fifteen years is well above the average growth rate for the Wide Bay region. Dominant industries based on natural resources are seafood processing and treated pine timber manufacturing.

The seafood industry is the largest employer in Hervey Bay, though this is on a seasonal basis. Seafoods are also the largest exports, being shipped to overseas markets in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan. The local industry is seeking to add more value by further processing and specialist packaging to suit the most discerning markets.

The treated pine timber industry is the next largest employer in Hervey Bay. Its raw materials come from extensive pine plantations in the region. There is steady demand for indoor and outdoor furniture and recreational products. Borne on the impetus of Hervey Bay’s rapid population growth, the building industry accounts for some 40 percent of all manufacturing enterprises in Hervey Bay.

Products include masonry, wall frames and roof trusses, windows and doors, roofing materials, metal fabrication and similar building components.Food processing plant, steam boilers, stainless steel items, farm machinery and commercial boat building are growing industries. The heavy engineering centres in the Wide Bay are Maryborough, 34 kilometres to the South and Bundaberg, 120 kilometres to the north. These centres manufacture locomotives and railway rolling stock, mining equipment, transport equipment, sawmill equipment, sugar mills, sugar cane harvesting machinery and general farm machinery for local and export markets.

Currently these heavy engineering enterprises import significant components for their major products. By producing such components locally, Hervey Bay Electricians and light engineering community could move into a lucrative home market. They are also well placed to sub-contract machining and fabrication work for the prime contractors.

A light aircraft industry based on the innovative design of the Seabird Seeker aircraft is located in Hervey Bay. The Seeker is a real alternative to helicopters for surveillance markets worldwide. This covers police, customs and immigration work, air/sea search and rescue, the monitoring of land, water and forest resources.

The Seeker can also aid several projects like pipeline and similar route planning and general cartographic applications. Other manufacturing and production enterprises include textiles, printing and publishing and souvenir, trophy and gift lines. Many opportunities in building, tourism, media and publishing, engineering and high technology are yet to be exploited. Building products, treatments and decor products for new structures, the after-market and the do-it-yourself market all represent excellent potential.

Other promising possibilities are specialist engineering in water treatment, sanitation and similar applications for export markets and a broad range of specialist technologies.

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