About Australian Olive Oil IndustryThe Australian olive industry began almost two hundred years ago when early European settlers brought planting material to Australia. Until recently the traditional producing countries around the Mediterranean could produce olive oil and table olives far more competitively than Australia.
However, the industry is now changing from the very traditional manual labour techniques to mechanised systems of growing and harvesting, and Australia now finds itself becoming increasingly competitive, not just in import replacement, but in its ability to export large volumes of high quality olive oil.
Australian Consumption of Olive Oil
Australia’s consumption of olive oil increased from 5,700 tonnes in 1983 to 17,200 tonnes in 1993 to an estimated 45,000 tonnes in 2010/11 (reference: Australian Olive Association). This represents an increase of 790% in just over two decades. Australia presently consumes more than three times its own annual production and is the largest consumer of olive oil per capita outside the Mediterranean.
Planted Area's in AustraliaGiven the fragmented nature of the Australian industry it is hard to know just how many trees are in the ground. We estimate that there are about 35,000 hectares of olives planted in Australia (2009 estimate) and Victoria now has more than 25% of the planted area.
The most common varieties planted across Australian groves are Arbequina, Barnea, Coratina, Frantoio and Picual, which represents approximately 85% of the total area planted. Manzanillo, Koroneiki, Hojiblanca and Picholine are present in smaller proportions. Most of these varieties have been chosen for their productivity and high oil quality.