Industrial Hemp

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS ( 15:18 :24 ): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question on the topic of industrial hemp to the Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation.

Leave granted.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: The Minister would be well aware that there is a strong push across Australia to explore the opportunities that are available in industrial hemp. While no crop is the remedy to all of our social, economic or environmental woes, it is believed that, with sustained research and development, hemp does, indeed, offer a very positive solution that could spur on some great ecological and economic benefits.

With that in mind, I met recently with the Industrial Hemp Association of South Australia (recently created) and the president of that association, Teresa McDowell, and also Ruth Trigg, and they presented to me a story which shows that South Australia is lagging far behind the other states on this issue. Indeed, there is legislation for the cultivation of industrial hemp under licence already approved in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia, yet here in South Australia no such legislation enabling the pursuit of an industrial hemp industry exists. My question to the minister is: will he undertake to meet with the newly formed Industrial Hemp Association of South Australia and explore the opportunities that may be able to forward South Australia's economic and employment outcomes?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation, Minister for Automotive Transformation, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation) (15:19 :59 ): I thank the honourable member for her question, her interest in manufacturing and her very keen interest in hemp. It is a very good question and a timely one. Only recently, at an event in Yankalilla, down near the Hon. Robert Brokenshire's part of the world, an attendee talked to me about the possible application of a hemp industry in South Australia. And it just so happened that on that day I was wearing a pair of jeans made from hemp. It is a good question.

An honourable member: Indian hemp?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: Yes, a nice brown pair of jeans made from hemp. With a blue shirt, I looked very smart that day.

Members interjecting:

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: And my burgundy boots. I think—

The PRESIDENT: Order! Get back to the answer, minister. We do not want to know your fashion statement.

The Hon. D.W. Ridgway: He's the fashion guru of the Legislative Council now.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: With a tan coloured belt as well. It was very fetching, I am sure.

The Hon. T.J. Stephens interjecting:

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: No, I bought them from Young's menswear in Mount Gambier. They were about $80.

The Hon. T.J. Stephens: Eighty bucks for a pair of strides?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: The Hon. Terry Stephens obviously hasn't bought his pants lately. They are expensive.

The PRESIDENT: The Hon. Mr Maher has the floor.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: Thank you, Mr President.

The Hon. J.S.L. Dawkins interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: The Hon. Mr Dawkins, you should know better than to interject during Mr Maher's answer.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: Thank you, Mr President. He has been here long enough to know that that sort of thing is completely out of order. But I am glad to see that it is not just this end of the chamber; we see the auditioning from the front bench spanning right across the back of the chamber. It is pleasing, after all these years, to see the Hon. John Dawkins blossoming, coming out of his shell like a beautiful flower first thing in the morning. He is blossoming into his role, and the honourable—

The PRESIDENT: Get back to your marijuana pants, Mr Maher, please.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: In answer to the honourable member's question, I would be very—

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: Point of order, Mr President. They are not marijuana plants. Industrial hemp is an entirely different product.

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Order! You have probably missed a question that could have been answered. The Hon. Mr Maher, finish your answer.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: Thank you, Mr President.

Members interjecting:

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: I am very concerned about some of the interjections that have been occurring. In answer to the honourable member's question: yes, maybe through her I would be most pleased to meet with the newly formed Industrial Hemp Association to discuss what impediments there are for an industry and what possibilities there could potentially be for an industry. I know that it is not just textiles. I understand the hemp industry is being used elsewhere. The Hon. Robert Brokenshire, who knows more about hemp than most of us, being from the country and involved in agriculture—

The Hon. T.J. Stephens: You're not suggesting that he grows some, are you?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: Nothing of the sort. He has a farm; that is all I am suggesting.

The Hon. T.J. Stephens interjecting:

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: No, not at all. He is a primary producer. He understands how to grow things. But there are other applications besides the well-known application of textiles; in fact, building products. Industrial hemp has been useful. I will be most pleased to meet with members of the Industrial Hemp Association and, if the honourable member has any other suggestions as to how we could progress this, I would be most pleased to do so.

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