Tea tree

Image supplied by the Australian Tea Tree Industry Association

The Australian Tea Tree Industry Association represents the biosecurity interests of tea tree producers and the industry. They are members of Plant Health Australia and signatories to the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed. Their responsibilities include:

  • biosecurity planning and implementation at the national and farm levels
  • liaising with federal and state governments on trade issues
  • funding and supporting biosecurity initiatives
  • participating in national committees and response efforts in an emergency.

Industry overview

The main product of the Australian tea tree industry is tea tree oil, which is steam distilled from Melaleuca alternifolia, an iconic Australian native plant species. Nearly all Australian tea tree oil production is sourced from plantations. Three quarters of plantations are in the coastal region of northern New South Wales, with 10 per cent located in the Atherton Tablelands of Queensland.

Tea tree oil is exported as bulk oil which is used to make value-added products including healthcare, cosmetic, pharmaceutical, veterinary and aromatherapy products. Most oil (90%) is exported through an established supply chain to over 70 countries, particularly North America and Europe.

Domestic consumption is estimated to be around 95,000 kilograms per annum, with much of this also destined for the export market as value-added cosmetic and therapeutic goods such as soap, shampoo, burn dressings and tea tree oil.

Industry biosecurity plans

Biosecurity planning provides a mechanism for the tea tree industry, government and other relevant stakeholders to assess current biosecurity practices and future biosecurity needs. Planning identifies procedures that can be put in place to reduce the chance of pests reaching our borders or minimise the impact if a pest incursion occurs.

The Biosecurity Plan for the Tea Tree Industry outlines key threats to the industry, risk mitigation plans, identification and categorisation of exotic pests and contingency plans. For a copy, please contact PHA on 02 6215 7700 or email biosecurity@phau.com.au

On-farm biosecurity fact sheet

The tea tree industry and PHA have created a fact sheet about on-farm biosecurity.

Farm biosecurity is the protection of your property from the entry and spread of harmful exotic pests, diseases and weeds.

Biosecurity measures implemented on farm also play an important role in protecting the Australian tea tree industry from exotic pests that affect plant industries overseas.


Exotic pests (not in Australia)

The following is a list of high priority exotic pests of  tea tree. These pests were identified during the development of the Biosecurity Plan for the Tea Tree Industry in consultation with industry, government and scientists. They have been assessed as high priority pests based on their potential to enter, establish, and spread in Australia (eg environmental factors, host range, vectors) and the cost to industry of control measures.

PHA has a range of fact sheets, contingency plans and diagnostic protocols relevant to these pests. Pest risk review documents are also available for some pests. Please contact PHA on 02 6215 7700 or email biosecurity@phau.com.au for more information.

Endorsed National Diagnostic Protocols are available from the National Plant Biosecurity Diagnostic Network webpage.

Common name Scientific name EPPRD Category Fact sheet Contingency plan Diagnostic protocol
Black twig borer Xylosandrus compactus FS FS
Calonectria brassicae Calonectria brassicae
Leaf spot, stalk rot or root rot Calonectria pteridis
Myrtle rust (exotic strains) Exotic variants of Austropuccinia psidii (taxonomic synonym = Puccinia psidii) CP
Sudden oak death Phytophthora ramorum 1 FS FS FS CP DP

Other pests

The following is a list of documents for other exotic and endemic pests of tea tree. Please note that this is not a complete list of pests: rather it includes pests for which documents exist in the Pest Information Document Database.

Some of the documents presented here are not  tailored to the tea tree industry and are included for information only.

Common name Scientific name EPPRD Category Fact sheet Contingency plan Diagnostic protocol
Elsinoe scab Elsinoe australis and E. eelemani FS
Fire ants Solenopsis invicta FS