Cairns Regional Council

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Businesses by industry

The Construction industry had the largest number of total registered businesses in Cairns, comprising 17.9% of all total registered businesses, compared to 17.0% in Queensland.

Registered business by industry shows how many businesses there are in Cairns within each industry sector using the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Business Register which itself is derived from the GST register held by the Australian Tax Office (ATO). Businesses are included if they are registered with the ATO, with an ABN used within the previous two financial years. Businesses are split up between employing and non-employing businesses. Non-employing businesses may include sole traders and registered ABNs which are part of larger enterprises.

The distribution of businesses may reflect the industry structure of the area, or may differ significantly. For instance, the largest industry in an area may consist of one very large business, with a large number of employees, while a sector with a lower value added could have a lot of small and micro businesses.

The number of businesses in the Cairns should be viewed in conjunction with Employment by industry (Total) and Value added datasets to see the relative size of industries, and with Employment locations data to see where business employment occurs within the area.

Please note that this data set has several limitations which are explained in the data notes for this topic. Business register counts are an approximation to LGA boundaries based on SA2 level data provided by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. As such, they may not exactly match figures sourced directly from the ATO, due to boundary issues and the application of ABS randomisation to the dataset. Notably, public sector institutions are not recorded which has a significant impact on the numbers for Health Care, Education and Public Administration and Safety.

Data source

Australian Bureau of Statistics – Business register – originally sourced from ATO data

Number of employees:
Comparison year:
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Registered businesses by industry
Cairns - Total registered businesses20182014change
IndustryNumber%. % QueenslandNumber%. % Queensland2014 to 2018
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing7495.49.27495.610.3-1
Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services290.20.3360.30.3-7
Wholesale Trade3292.43.03192.43.2+10
Retail Trade8115.85.68716.66.2-60
Accommodation and Food Services7615.44.07465.63.9+15
Transport, Postal and Warehousing1,1838.57.19887.45.9+195
Information Media and Telecommunications1000.70.7910.70.7+9
Financial and Insurance Services1,0977.98.49076.87.6+191
Rental, Hiring and Real Estate Services1,63611.711.41,72113.011.6-85
Professional, Scientific and Technical Services1,41510.111.11,2579.510.9+157
Administrative and Support Services6594.74.05914.53.8+68
Public Administration and Safety600.40.3440.30.3+16
Education and Training1971.41.41861.41.3+11
Health Care and Social Assistance8436.05.86805.15.2+162
Arts and Recreation Services1661.21.11491.11.2+17
Other Services7595.44.77235.54.6+36
Industry not classified1250.90.91541.21.5-29
Total business13,973100.0100.013,266100.0100.0+707

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Counts of Australian Businesses, including Entries and Exits, 2016 to 2018 Note: Non-employing businesses includes sole proprietors where the proprietor does not receive a wage or salary separate to the business income. .id the population experts

Please refer to specific data notes for more information

Cairns Regional Council

economic profile