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Australian tea tree industry gets the good 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 Federal 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 Federal 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 Federal 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 Federal Government is supporting regional industries, and through them our regional communities and our rural exports.

“The announcement is great news for Cowper, for the industry and for consumers alike.”

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