Today, over 28,000 hectares of citrus are planted by around 1,900 growers. The major production regions are in the Riverland, South Australia; Murray Valley, Victoria and New South Wales; Riverina, New South Wales and the Central Burnett region in Queensland. There are also additional plantings throughout Western Australia, inland and coastal New South Wales, regions in Queensland, as well as smaller plantings in the Northern Territory. The industry produces around 600,000 tonnes annually, with a farm gate value of $450m. Oranges are the most widely planted citrus fruit.
The export market is the main driver of growth and profitability. The Australian citrus industry is export-oriented and has a competitive advantage in northern hemisphere markets such as Indonesia, China, Japan, Korea and the United States. As these exports are counter-seasonal, they do not compete with locally produced fruit. Free trade agreements with Asia has led to the United States becoming a less important market for Australian citrus exports, as increasing quantities are exported to Asia. Global competition in citrus trade has reduced, largely as a result of the ongoing drought in California and recent port strikes which have both resulted in decrease in exports. This has had a positive effect on Australian citrus exports with an increase in demand for early season Australian citrus, given the reduction of supply of late season California citrus. The recent reduction in value of the Australian dollar has further increased optimism in the market.
As well as being exported and sold domestically, Australian citrus fruit; in particular oranges, are also used to produce fresh juice or frozen concentrated juice.
As the export market is a major market for the Australian Citrus industry, threats to the trade agreements between Australia and Asia represent a risk to the industry. The price level volatility is also a risk; increased supply or quality from competitor countries, or decreased Australian levels, could result in the willingness to pay of importers decreasing and revenue of the industry decreasing. Currency fluctuations also affect the industry as export demand changes with the strength of the Australian dollar. On a production level, adverse weather events; including heavy rain and flooding, and disease pose risks to the market.