30th November 2023 09:45
Victorian Legislative Council, Melbourne
Rachel PAYNE (South-Eastern Metropolitan) (09:45):
I rise to speak on the industrial hemp industry in Victoria report that is being tabled today, as a participating member of the Economy and Infrastructure Committee. I obviously love hemp; I think it is the future. But what I found interesting when it came to working with this committee was we all started to find a new-found love for hemp, whether it be around the fashion and textiles industry or the building industry,
and Bev and I have concocted an idea where we are going to have a hemp fashion parade. You are all warned: you may be approached to model for our fashion parade.
The inquiry itself examined the issues, barriers and opportunities facing the current Victorian industrial hemp industry, and we have to remember that hemp is currently treated as if it is an illicit drug.
It is controlled by the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981. Some of the key recommendations or the key themes that came out of this report were that a viable Victorian hemp industry will not cost a lot of money and it is achievable. When it comes to hemp investment, reducing the stigma of hemp through meaningful legislative reform is key to improving the attitudes of both local government and investors,
and the Victorian government has an opportunity to advocate for hemp at a national level. I want to thank particularly Georgie Purcell as chair of that committee for wrangling us all together at times. I think we all acknowledge that we learned a lot about hemp in this space. The global value of the hemp industry is $4.9 billion, and that is a conservative figure.
We have a real opportunity in this state, and I look forward to progressing this issue with you all in the new year.