Australia produced 344,000 tonnes of cheese in 2014/15—an increase of 10% on the previous year.  Production volumes are significantly less than earlier in the 2000s as the availability of milk has trended downward since that time. Another significant factor in more recent years, as milk production has stabilised at lower levels, has been the impact of dairy companies opportunistically changing their export product mixes to take advantage of favourable movements in international dairy commodity prices.

There has been a long term trend in production away from cheddar cheeses and toward non-cheddar cheese types. The non-cheddar share of total production volumes has steadily increased from 30% three decades ago, to between 45% and 50% in recent years.

Australian cheese production by type of cheese (tonnes)

  2008/09 2009/10 2010/11 2011/12 2012/13
2013/14 (r)
2014/15 (p)
Cheddar 178,360 164,220 154,720 160,683  157,996   151,721 178,429
Semi Hard 61,754 82,504 68,176 67,023 57,190   44,712 43,928
Hard Grating 17,924 12,238 13,591 13,871 14,681   13,762 10,334
Fresh  75,650 82,004 95,431 99,024  102,342   95,760 104,777
Mould 8,915 8,673 6,739 5,930 6,103  5,503 6,488
Total Cheese 342,603 349,639 338,657 346,530  338,312   311,458 343,956
Source: Dairy manufacturers

It is estimated that nearly 45% of the domestic sales of Australian cheese are through the major supermarket chains. A significant proportion—of predominantly specialty cheeses—are sold through the smaller independent retail trade made up of delicatessens and specialty food stores; with the remainder used in the foodservice sector and in food processing applications.

Cheese is a major product for the Australian dairy industry, with sales of around 240,000 tonnes of domestic product within Australia, for an estimated value approaching A$1.95 billion; and export sales of a further 158,500 tonnes, worth A$820 million in 2014/15.

See Domestic Sales Summary for more details on supermarket sales of cheese