Economically, Central Queensland is an important centre of primary industries. Even so, Central Queensland includes the Bowen Basin which is rich in high quality coking coal, the Port of Gladstone produces 40% of the state's export earnings, the Fitzroy River is the second-largest river system in Australia and commands significant water resources such as Fairbairn Dam. Gladstone has a significant aluminium smelter, Rockhampton is the undisputed beef capital of Australia, and the region produces approximately 50% of the state's electricity.
In 2004, an orchard on Evergreen farm was the site of the first detection of citrus canker in Central Queensland. A significant part of the citrus growing industry was devastated when a total of 6,000 acres (24 km2) of crop had to be destroyed so the disease would not spread across the country. In 2005 several fresh outbreaks were reported so the eradication expanded to include private backyard trees. The outbreak's cause has not been fully explained despite a federal inquiry. In 2009 authorities from the Government of Queensland declared the eradication program complete.
For this purpose the area of Central Queensland was restricted to the areas encircled by the Dawson Highway between Gladstone and Springsure; the Gregory Highway between Springsure and Clermont, and the Peak Downs Highway between Clermont and enters North Queensland via Mackay - extended right to the eastern coastline.