Question: Industrial Hemp

In Parliament, Questions

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (14:33): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development on the topic of the Industrial Hemp Act.

Leave granted.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: I wasn’t going to make an explanation, but I will outline that I previously asked this question, well over a month ago, of the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, to outline and update the council on her dealings with the licences and current trials under the Industrial Hemp Act, which is assigned to her. Could she please explain what machinery of government tools have been put in place to support this emerging industry, given that question has not been answered within the 30 days?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (14:34): I thank the honourable member for her answer. I’m able to provide the following information, and if there is additional information I’m happy to take that on notice. Industrial hemp is, of course, a potentially viable and profitable rotational crop for farmers who traditionally grow irrigated seed and other horticultural crops. The Industrial Hemp Act 2017 and the Industrial Hemp Regulations 2017 provide a licensing framework to authorise and regulate the possession, cultivation, processing and supply of industrial hemp in South Australia, and 25 industrial hemp cultivation and two processing licences have been issued since 2018, indicating a cautious but steady interest in the crop.

The South Australian government has supported this new industry by funding industrial hemp trials conducted by the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), which started in the summer of 2017-18. The Department of Primary Industries and Regions and AgriFutures Australia Emerging Industries are co-funding two South Australian trial sites under the new Industrial Hemp Variety Trials (IHVT) program, with SARDI appointed as the national trial coordinator.

The IHVT program will provide Australian hemp growers with independent information about the performance of new industrial hemp seed varieties suited to specific geographical locations within Australia. I am confident that this additional information provided to them will help them in their plans for their industry going forward.