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Australian agricultural industries in your pocket.

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The Hon. Tony Burke MP Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

Australian agricultural industries in your pocket 5 August 2008 DAFF08/096B

Essential facts and figures on Australian agriculture are now at your fingertips with the release of a pocket sized reference produced by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF).

Australia’s Agricultural Industries 2008 At a Glance was released today by the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke.

“The publication provides easy-to-read information on primary industries and the natural resources on which they rely,” Mr Burke said.

"It provides a snapshot of the key features for each of our agriculture and food industries including their size, location and contribution to the economy, and how they are tackling pressures like climate change and a challenging trade environment.

“Australia is one of the world’s largest agricultural export nations in terms of wheat, beef, dairy products, wine and wool. More than two-thirds of agricultural production is exported, generating $27.8 billion in 2006-07.

“At a Glance reinforces that our agriculture, fisheries and forestry industries have the opportunity to become the most productive and efficient in the world, ensuring a prosperous future for Australia.”

Facts and figures in the publication include:

• Agriculture and forestry occupy almost two thirds of Australia’s landmass and, combined with fisheries, employ 272,000 people in rural and regional areas

• Our native forests hold about 6.56 billion tonnes of carbon in trunks, branches, leaves and roots - or 46 years worth of Australia’s 2005 total emissions

• Around 28,000 exotic plant species have been introduced into Australia since European settlement, with 3,480 of these becoming weeds

• Nearly 20 per cent of Australians fish recreationally at least once a year, catching around 136 million fish and other aquatic animals

At a Glance also provides information on the people who work in our agriculture and food industries and live in rural and regional areas, including:

• 7.5 million people live outside Australia’s capital cities and this population grew by 500,000 between 2001 and 2006

• The level of internet connections in rural areas is now almost equal to that in cities

• Rural and regional residents are Australia’s most active volunteers, with more than a quarter of them taking on voluntary work compared with the national average of 19.8 per cent