Cunnamulla farmers could be Queensland’s first to grow medicinal marijuana.
Queensland Health and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries are set to organise a meeting to discuss the potential cultivation of medicinal cannabis and what it could mean for the south-west.
Brothers, Don, Geoff and Greg Dunsdon are behind a 5000 acre irrigation development near Cunnamulla and say medicinal cannabis is an industry the region shouldn’t miss out on.
“Too many times people in this part of regional Australia get left out,” said Don Dunsdon.
“We get forgotten and I think if the Premier’s fair dinkum about regional development and economic development and working smarter, we fit that with this opportunity.
“We’re not asking them to give us special consideration, we just want them to give us a fair go.”
The Dunsdons aren’t the only family interested in this agricultural venture, with another large irrigator keen to see medicinal cannabis grown in the area.
Talk of bringing this opportunity to other regions is already taking place.
In Atherton last week, department representatives discussed the subject in a private meeting and there are rumours something similar may be in the wood works for Cunnamulla stakeholders to be held in Ipswich – but nothing official has been released.
Don says the irrigation and facilities on their place are ideal for growing medicinal cannabis.
“Our country is pristine, a fair portion of which is organic; we’ve got the water, we’ve got the land, we’ve got the infrastructure and the desired remoteness for security,” he says.
Currently the family grow a variety of crops across two properties through the use of lateral irrigation.
Cotton, fodder and chickpeas all do well under irrigation powered by the Cunnamulla Water Supply Scheme and being backed by a 12,000 mega-litre flood irrigation license just adds to the water reliability.
But the greatest argument of all, Don says, is how the industry could put life back into the struggling Cunnamulla community.
“If we can grow it, value-add it and even export it, it could be a complete game changer for the shire,” Mr Dunsdon said.
“The jobs that it’d create, it would really put this shire on the map, there’s huge potential.”