Paroo Mayor Lindsay Godfrey says cultivating medicinal cannabis will revitalise his drought-stricken community.
Paroo Mayor Lindsay Godfrey says cultivating medicinal cannabis will revitalise his drought-stricken community. Contributed

South-west mayor wants cannabis industry in his town

WOULD you like to see medicinal cannabis grown in south-west Queensland?

That could be the case if the Paroo Shire Mayor Lindsay Godfrey has his way.

Cr Godfrey, who is also the Chair of South West Regional Economic Development, has urged the State Government this morning to fast-track Cunnamulla as one of the locations for medicinal cannabis pilot programs in Queensland.

With Queensland Health and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries having met with potential growers in Atherton yesterday, Cr Godfrey said Cunnamulla’s irrigated cropping made it an ideal candidate.

“While we have a limited amount of water, it is reliable, so we’re looking for a high value concentrated alternative to cotton to ensure production is viable,” he said.

Cr Godfrey said the local community had subsequently been hurting since the decline of the table grape industry.

“At some stages there were 40-50 people in the community and other stages more than that when the table grape industry was alive and well in Cunnamulla,” Cr Godfrey said.

“It’s hard to put in dollars, but if you think about the effects in the community we’re talking in the vicinity of $2million-plus in what’s quite a small community.

“In a community of 1800 people if you lose 100 people that are bringing in good dollars, that’s a massive impact.

“The economic impact It flows through to small businesses, to employment and ultimately to the degradation in services.”

Securing the medicinal cannabis industry while still in its infancy would be a major boost to Cunnamulla, Cr Godfrey said.

“We’re desperate for employment in this part of the world,” he said.

“There’s not a lot of opportunities for us to have the competitive advantage out here, but in the interests of economic development across the whole country this is one of the few solutions that can give us some cause for hope.

“Medicinal cannabis is an industry that does lend itself to economic development in the more diverse regional areas and we can’t afford to take a chance on missing out at Paroo.”

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