Imagining the Spatial Future of Australian Agriculture


  • Anthony Sorensen University of New England


It appears likely that Australian agriculture will be transformed hugely over the next decade driven by the same factors shaping the nation's current mining boom. Experience tells us that fast economic development is universally accompanied by rising per capita consumption of food and fibre, and demand for higher quality, more diverse and year round produce. Perched on the edge of over 40% of the world's population, living in an arc from East to South Asia, and recording GDP growth rates averaging 7% per annum, Australia's farm sector will be a major beneficiary. This furious pace of Asian development, combined with (a) rapid domestic corporatisation of the countryside, (b) substantial changes in internal policy settings affecting the farm sector, and (c) inward investment from Asian multinationals, will wreak immense changes in what is produced where and how. We conceptualise the processes at work and develop a likely downstream production scenario very different to current spatial patterns. Keywords: Australian agriculture, mid-range forecasting, Asian demand, corporatisation of production, foreign investment