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NSW sets up hemp industry taskforce

The New South Wales Government has established a Hemp Industry Taskforce to futureproof the state’s agriculture production.

The New South Wales Government has established a Hemp Industry Taskforce to futureproof the state’s agriculture production.

The taskforce will include 12 representatives from growers and industry associations and will consider options to support the continual growth of the NSW industrial hemp industry, supporting jobs in rural and regional NSW.

Jeremy Buckingham MLC said the establishment of this taskforce is a game-changer for an industry that promises massive potential for jobs and farming in NSW.

“This is a plant which is up to 25 times more effective at capturing carbon than forestry, and which offers almost unlimited potential in a wide range of areas including clothing, construction, foodstuffs, paper, medication and more,” Buckingham said.

“I applaud the NSW Government for getting behind this industry and look forward to providing exciting new potential for manufacturing, a powerful transition for logging communities, and new opportunities for a climate and soil friendly crop for farmers.”

With the global hemp market expected to quadruple by 2027 to $18.6b, facilitating the expansion of the NSW industrial hemp sector is timely and critical.

Globally, it is estimated that hemp is used in more than 25,000 products spanning nine sub-markets, including agriculture, building materials and textiles.

At monthly meetings, supported by the NSW Department of Primary Industries, the taskforce will identify the short, medium and long term objectives of the NSW industrial hemp industry, including:

  • The role industrial hemp could play in the transition to a net zero, circular economy in NSW.
  • The supply and value chains required to support increased crop production, or other barriers to production and development in NSW.
  • Identifying legislative barriers to and opportunities for expanding industrial hemp production in NSW.
  • Consider opportunities to harmonise industrial hemp regulation nationally.

The taskforce will only consider the cultivation and supply of low-THC hemp grown under the NSW Industrial Hemp Act 2008.

This taskforce will not consider the production of hemp for use as a therapeutic good (e.g. medicines) as this is restricted and requires a licence from the Office of Drug Control (Cwlth) and approval from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (Cwlth).

Agriculture Minister Tara Moriarty said her attendance last year at the Hemp Industry Roundtable provided an important opportunity to hear from the hemp industry stakeholders.

“Currently, the Hemp Industry Act 2008 facilitates the cultivation and supply of low THC hemp fibre and seed production in NSW under controlled conditions, without compromising the effectiveness of existing drug enforcement strategies of the NSW Police,” Moriarty said.

“The Act authorises and regulates the cultivation and supply of low-THC hemp for commercial production and other legitimate uses.

“Guided by the taskforce outcomes, the Government can consider what work is required to reduce red tape and provide the regulatory environment to support the industrial hemp industry grow and deliver jobs to regional NSW.”

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