8 March 2023, 12:07
Victorian Legislative Council, Melbourne

David ETTERSHANK (Western Metropolitan) (12:07): (74) My question is for the Minister for Agriculture, Ms Tierney, and relates to grants for the hemp industry. Minister, yesterday my colleague Ms Payne asked you a question in relation to a hemp grant scheme, highlighting in particular Western Australia, where the government has provided grants to local companies to drive the growth of the hemp industry. Your answer, though, yesterday, Minister, did not touch on grants at all. Quite specifically, Minister, will you contemplate a grant scheme to incentivise the Victorian hemp industry?

Jaclyn SYMES (Northern Victoria – Attorney-General, Minister for Emergency Services)

I thank Mr Ettershank for his question for Ms Tierney, the Minister for Agriculture. Unfortunately she is absent today, but I will pass that question on to her and her office and get you a response.

I thank the minister for her response.

Funded projects under the Western Australian grant scheme included seed and crop trials, establishing a hemp-processing facility and building carbon-neutral homes from hemp biomass. Could you see similar projects being the recipient of grants here in Victoria?

Jaclyn SYMES:

Mr Ettershank, I will pass that on to Minister Tierney. But as the former Minister for Agriculture, there are a range of grants that anybody that is a primary producer could access, so some of the issues that you touched on might actually be eligible for existing grant programs. But I will let the now relevant minister respond in more detail.

**The President ordered a written response for both questions** 

Written Answer
Received: 22 March 2023
Hon. Gayle Tierney MP
(Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education, Minister for Agriculture)

I thank the Member for the Western Metropolitan region for his question concerning industrial hemp. 

The Victorian Government is committed to supporting the development of emerging industries.

Industry and government are working together to grow and strengthen Victoria’s hemp industry.

Agriculture Victoria has co-invested with AgriFutures and industry in the national Industrial Hemp Variety Trial and hosts the Victorian trial at Hamilton. The trial included the evaluation of six hemp varieties provided by industry and sown at three sowing times. The trials provide industry with reliable information about growth, yield, sowing times, nutrition, and water requirements for the six hemp varieties.

Year one of the trial is complete and year two is underway which will repeat the trials to gather more data across different seasons. Results from the trial are made available to growers to help guide decisions about which varieties to plant for Victorian conditions.

Although there are no specific grants for the hemp industry, hemp businesses may be eligible for government support programs such as Ready for Growth. This program supports Victorian businesses with high growth potential to access new markets and expand their business. Participants receive tailored advice and support from an expert growth facilitator.

Agriculture Victoria is working closely with other states and AgriFutures Australia to improve hemp farming techniques, explore other uses for hemp, and detail the environmental benefits from hemp production. 

I have asked the Department to offer the Member a briefing on the state of Victoria’s hemp industry and any grants that may be available to hemp businesses.


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