Senate debates

Thursday, 24 June 2021


Hemp Industry

12:08 pm

Photo of Peter Whish-WilsonPeter Whish-Wilson (Tasmania, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) hemp has had multiple uses over thousands of years, including food, construction, fuels and fibre,

(ii) despite hemp containing less than 1% tetrahydrocannabinol, industry growth has been stalled by the prohibition on cannabis (a different plant species variety),

(iii) in 2017 Australia was the last country in the world to legalise hemp for food,

(iv) the global hemp market is forecast to grow from $3.5 billion to $26.6 billion by 2025, presenting significant opportunities for Australian farmers,

(v) Tasmania currently produces around 80% of the nation's hemp crop,

(vi) hemp used in rotation with other crops, such as cotton, can improve soil health, and

(vii) AgriFutures identified barriers to industry growth, including low scale of production, incomplete agronomic information, limited varieties, imperfect mechanisation for harvesting and no major processing infrastructure or long-term markets, and hemp has not benefitted from the research and development funding enjoyed by other agricultural industries;

(b) recognises more government focus on research and development is needed to enhance innovation and grow the industry; and

(c) calls on the Federal Government to support jobs and farmers in regional Australia by encouraging the growth of the hemp industry.

Photo of Malcolm RobertsMalcolm Roberts (Queensland, Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I seek leave to make a short statement.

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

Leave is granted for one minute.

Photo of Malcolm RobertsMalcolm Roberts (Queensland, Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party) Share this | | Hansard source

One Nation will support this motion. Hemp is a variety of cannabis that does not contain high levels of the psychoactive compound called THC, also referred to as marijuana. The war on THC has caused hemp to be stigmatised without reason. Hemp is a modern commercial crop for use in paper, fabrics, natural pharmaceuticals, and, as Senator Whish-Wilson pointed out, in food. What I would like to add to the debate is to point out that hemp is a fast-growing crop, which makes it suitable for opportunistic planting after rain. Used in rotation with grain crops, hemp can condition the soil and improve yields across the planting cycle. Hemp is deeply rooted, which remediates soil and provides a crop to stabilise and protect topsoil in areas where erosion can be a problem. Hemp is being trialled as a forage crop in Tassie. Those are going to be healthy, happy cows. I urge all Australian farmers to take another look at hemp and join a world market expected to be valued at about $50 billion by 2026.

Question agreed to.