New South Wales minister for agriculture Tara Moriarty attended a roundtable meeting of key stakeholders from the Australian hemp industry last week.
Hosted at Parliament House by NSW Legalise Cannabis MP Jeremy Buckingham, the meeting was the first of a new hemp taskforce which aims to promote the crop and its potential to become a multi-billion dollar industry.
Other key stakeholders in attendance included the presidents of the Australian Hemp Council and Australian Industrial Hemp Alliance, Tim Schmidt and James Vosper.
Buckingham acknowledged the hemp industry is “very much in its infancy in NSW” but insisted the potential for the state’s economy, and for jobs in regional areas, remains untapped.
He added: “We had a productive meeting with the industry’s key players, and I thank the minister for her supportive comments. I look forward to collaborating with her on ways to reduce unnecessary regulation and other ways in which the NSW Government can support hemp growing and manufacture.
“In particular, I am looking for ways to support logging communities transition into new industries that are sustainable into the future.”
Schmidt commended the NSW Government for taking the lead nationally on hemp legislation and creating important opportunities for farmers.
“We appreciate this opportunity to present our issues to the minister,” he said. “We look forward to continuing dialogue and securing support for important initiatives.
“These include deregulating hemp seed oil products for pet food, hemp products for food and beverages as well as further investing in research, advocacy and developing industry standards.”
Vosper said roadblocks remain for an industry “where there is a potential $6 billion market for animal feed alone”.
He added: “We are looking for the NSW Government to remove these roadblocks and unnecessary legislation. For instance, growers face problems with moving biomass from farm to farm, or from farm to processing facility. It took 17 years to legalise hemp seed products for food, but that allowed people to grow hemp food for profit on relatively small plots starting from 2017.
“Elsewhere in the world, where governments have invested in the industry, especially in processing facilities that come with a significant cost, the industry has taken off.”