The AgriFutures™ Tea Tree Oil Program aims to conduct RD&E that contributes to the profitability, sustainability and productivity of this levied industry.

In consultation with industry, AgriFutures Australia has developed a tea tree oil five-year plan for the levy funded program which commenced on 1 July 2017. The program will invest in research focused on tea tree breeding, processing and market access.

Key components of the program

The program invests in research to develop the industry in growing tea tree, processing and overcoming post farm gate market access barriers in accordance with a five-year planning process.

About the industry

Tea tree oil is extracted from Melaleuca alternifolia grown in plantations and distilled via steam injection. Tea tree oil has a range of uses, can be found in cosmetics, personal health care and animal care products, and is recognised by consumers and manufacturers for its effectiveness.

Tea tree is tolerant of coastal acid sulphate soils and can be grown on inland cropping country. Most plantations are located in the coastal region of northern NSW and the Atherton Tablelands of Queensland.

Our investment in the tea tree breeding program over the past 25 years has resulted in the near doubling of plantation yield. These investments have also delivered efficiencies in harvesting, distillation, storage and marketable oil benefits.

Key challenges for the Australian tea tree oil industry is to continue to improve profitability and increase demand. Reducing costs of production is also important to maintaining Australia’s competitive advantage. As price increases and demand continue to grow, new plantings in China have potential to impact on commercial competitiveness of Australian-grown oil.

Industry Advisory Panel

AgriFutures Australia is committed to working with industry to deliver research and development outcomes. We work in partnership with advisory panels to decide on research priorities and to make investment decisions each year.


There is a statutory levy on tea tree oil.

RD&E Plan

To assist the industry to meet its challenges, the objectives for the AgriFutures™ Tea Tree Oil Program include:

  • Improving supply
  • Increasing demand
  • Extension, sustainability and human capital.

Program news


Gae Plunkett
Manager, Research
02 6923 6915
0490 091 856

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AgriFutures™ Tea Tree Oil Program Industry Update January 2019

Project updates from our AgriFutures™ Tea Tree Oil Program.


AgriFutures™ Tea Tree Oil Program Industry Update November 2018

Project updates from our AgriFutures™ Tea Tree Oil Program.


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