Medicinal cannabis farm to be a catalyst for region
BUILDING one of the world's largest medicinal cannabis farms on Toowoomba's fringes will be a catalyst for major protected agricultural practices, but will be challenged by the region's ability to attract and retain skilled staff.
Food Leaders Australia general manager Bruce McConnel said with the Federal Government granting the facility major project status, more world-class operators unable to get a foothold in their respective countries would further look to Toowoomba and the Darling Downs.
But with its low unemployment and therefore lack of surplus workers able to be retrained for work at the Wellcamp Airport-based outfit, support would be needed to bring and keep staff to the area.
"This will be the tipping point," Mr McConnel said.
"These are big investments and we have been talking about this for a year or two.
"From an FLA point of view, we'll be looking at what service industries are needed, how to get local businesses set up to benefit either through the construction, agronomy support, transport and logistics, and how to bring new skills to the region."
Those skills will likely include biochemists and other specialised roles including in the technological space which will be bolstered by the nearby Pulse Data Centre.
Mr McConnel said the data centre's technology sureties combined with Wellcamp's export potential and Australia's proven regulatory frameworks uniquely positioned Toowoomba ahead of most other global cities.
"We know how to set up the regulatory framework," he said.
"What we're seeing is there is no other area owning the new frontier better than Toowoomba.
"This is a really exciting transformation for Toowoomba at the moment."
He said protected agricultural method using glasshouses could also benefit broadacre and horticultural farmers.