It’s heartening to hear that the NSW National Party has thrown its support behind a local hemp manufacturer.
Bangalow based Hemp Foods Australia is spruiking the funding by NSW Trade and Investment of six new employees for a minimum of three months, which director Paul Benhaim says is ‘invaluable
in improving financial stability and credibility to move ahead and employ many more for longer.’
According to Benhaim, there is strong interest from Asia and North America and, ‘we’re confident we will become market leaders in the southern hemisphere with our specialised products.’
Presently the company produces hulled hemp seeds, oil and protein. But unlike the tinctures that reportedly provide relief from epilepsy, his products contain no THC. Instead, his company specialises in food-grade stuffs which contain omega-3, omega-6, omega-9 and essential fatty acids.
The catch? Hemp foods are not allowed to be sold as food in Australia and New Zealand (except for hemp oil in NZ). Buy this stuff locally and it has to be applied externally; however the federal government is looking into it.
Anyway, local Nationals MP Don Page says hemp foods are ‘a prime example of the NSW government’s success in helping regional businesses move forward and boost employment.’
‘Jobs are always a priority in NSW, especially in the bush, and this government is working hard with bright initiatives to provide them.’
Similarly, NSW deputy premier and Nationals leader Andrew Stoner was quoted in Benhaim’s press release as saying the performance of hemp foods ‘would hopefully be a story repeated over and over in NSW as the government’s incentives and strategies became established.’
So will we see the Nationals take the ball on this and promote jobs and industries that will take on big pharma, plastics, paper, cotton and fossil fuels? One could say this is certainly a good start.
And it’s not often the Nationals can be commended; let’s forget for now that appalling $2m rail study designed to rob this region of public transport, planning reforms that favour developers, or proposed legislation to sack councils and shift power to the state.
Oh, and also Mr Stoner’s refusal to support a mini-hydro business in his own electorate, as reported in The Echo a few weeks ago.
While Mr Page says jobs are a priority in NSW, his leader Mr Stoner failed to offer the same assistance to that industry. It could have possibly saved a Dorrigo business that offered renewable energy.