Your Voice in Canberra
Citrus Australia Policy Statements – Federal Election, 2019
Citrus Australia is the national peak industry body for the Australian citrus growing industry. There are approximately 2,000 citrus growers based in every mainland state and territory, but concentrated in the Murray Darling Basin regions of SA, VIC, NSW and the Central Burnett region of QLD.
The Australian citrus industry is one of the largest fresh fruit industries in Australia, and certainly the largest fresh fruit exporter with an annual average export volume of 170,000 tonnes and a value of $190 million. Citrus is also one of the largest fresh import categories in Australia, with annual volume of around 23,000 tonnes valued at $33 million. The Australian citrus industry produces only around 1% of the global citrus production and competes directly in export markets with lower cost southern hemisphere citrus exporting countries such as South Africa, Chile and Peru.
Production has been declining over the last ten years, with the recent drought impacting significantly. In the five year period between 2003 and 2008 the Australian citrus industry lost 13% of growers and 7% of its hectares. Despite the contraction the industry has demonstrated a real resilience with a focus on increasing productivity through increased adoption of irrigation and fertigation technology, varietal and rootstock selections, higher density plantings, cutting edge cultural practices, vertical integration, and marketing alliances.
The challenges during the current economic climate include access to and increase cost of water, increase input costs including diesel fuel and labour, exchange rates, access to credit and credit-worthiness of buyers, low cost southern hemisphere competitors, and difficult quarantine and tariff barriers to certain export markets.
To secure the ongoing viability of the industry and its economic contribution to Australia, the following policy priorities are offered to assist government and other representatives:
- Export Market Access, Development and Promotion
- Quarantine and Biosecurity reform
- Research and Development
- Workplace Relations
- Horticulture Code of Conduct
- Climate Change
- Truth in Labelling