• New tea tree levy will provide industry with greater certainty about future R&D funding for investment in longer-term projects
• Industry will now have a mechanism to contribute to national cost-shared eradication responses in the case of a pest or disease incursion
• The funding will also support research into finding other innovative uses for this widely used oil
The Australian tea tree industry’s request to raise a levy to support the industry in research and development (R&D) and emergency response activities has been delivered in the Coalition Government’s 2017/18 Budget.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, and Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister, Luke Hartsuyker, said the Coalition Government was delivering on an election commitment to establish a statutory R&D levy for the tea tree oil industry.
“Supported strongly by industry, this levy will ensure that all tea tree oil producers invest equitably in R&D, and provide industry with greater certainty about future R&D funding for investment in longer-term projects,” Minister Joyce said.
“The R&D levy is expected to collect around $140,000 from the industry each year and will be managed by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC). The Coalition Government will match expenditure by RIRDC on eligible tea tree oil R&D dollar-for-dollar.
“By introducing an Emergency Plant Pest Response levy, industry will have a mechanism to contribute to national cost-shared eradication responses in the case of a pest or disease incursion.
“This funding will also support research into finding other innovative uses for tea tree oil, as well as production systems that lower cost and increase productivity, including a tea tree breeding program.”
Minister Hartsuyker said the R&D funding would contribute to market access through regulatory response, product efficacy and safety research.
“Tea tree oil has long been touted a miracle elixir and is used as a topical antiseptic and anti-fungal treatment to help aid against ailments such as skin infections, rashes, burns, dandruff and much more,” Minister Hartsuyker said.
“In 2016, the Australian tea tree industry recorded a farm gate value of around $29 million.
“Matching the industry’s R&D spend dollar-for-dollar is one more way the Coalition Government is supporting regional industries, and through them our regional communities and our rural exports.
“Today’s announcement is great news for Cowper, for the industry and for consumers alike.”
• Tea tree oil is well-known for its powerful antiseptic properties and ability to treat wounds.
• Australian tea tree oil production in 2015–16 was at its highest level in recent years, at 845 metric tonnes.
• Up to 90 per cent of Australia’s tea tree oil is exported, at a value of $31.2 million in 2015–16, with major export markets located in North America and Europe.