Emerging medicinal cannabis industry to create 65 new jobs in Shepparton

By Myles Peterson

Victoria’s burgeoning medicinal cannabis industry will involve a new cultivation and manufacturing facility being built in Shepparton.

The facility will create about 65 new jobs in Shepparton on the back of a $30million investment partnership between Canadian firm CannTrust and start-up medicinal cannabis firm Cannatrek.

Another 10 positions will be created at La Trobe University’s Research and Innovation Precinct in Bundoora, Melbourne.

A Victorian Government spokesperson said the 10 positions at La Trobe would focus on research and development, along with administration.

Jobs in the Shepparton region will be in the fields of agriculture, processing, education and training and support roles in various trade and administration positions.

The spokesperson said many of the roles would go to tertiary-educated candidates who had TAFE and/or university qualifications.

Cannatrek chief executive Tommy Huppert said Shepparton’s climate and horticultural history was highly suited to the production of medicinal cannabis, suggesting the new facility would be located outdoors.

‘‘Regional Victoria is blessed with abundant daylight, possessing the ideal climate for growing this valuable medicinal resource,’’ he said.

‘‘Cannatrek is grateful for the opportunity to pioneer this industry.’’

The newly installed agriculture minister and legislative council member for Northern Victoria, Jaclyn Symes, said the growth of a medicinal cannabis industry in regions such as Shepparton was part of the Andrews Government’s long-term medicinal cannabis strategy.

The government’s Medical Cannabis Industry Development Plan aims to attract major investment into the new industry, with a projection of 500 new jobs to be created by 2028.

The plan seeks to have Victoria supply at least 50 per cent of the country’s medicinal cannabis needs and lead to the creation of a major new export industry.

‘‘Victoria is continuing to lead the way as the medicinal cannabis hub of the Southern Hemisphere and we are proud to support Cannatrek’s significant expansion in regional Victoria,’’ Ms Symes said.

‘‘We’re proud to be actively attracting investment in this ground-breaking industry that will not only improve the lives of patients around the world, but also create local jobs.’’

La Trobe University vice-chancellor Professor John Dewar said his institution was looking forward to developing its partnership with Cannatrek.

‘‘Recognised as a national leader in the fast-developing field of medicinal agriculture, La Trobe University welcomes support for this emerging company and looks forward to the co-location of Cannatrek within our research and innovation precinct,’’ he said.