From coal to cannabis – times are certainly changing in the Western Australian town of Collie.
Situated around 200 kilometres south of Perth, Collie has been Western Australia’s most important coal mining town since the 1880’s. But as Australia moves away from burning the problematic black rock, the future of the town has been uncertain.
A new industry that looks set to create employment in Collie is medical cannabis. The McGowan Government announced on Tuesday it has earmarked $2 million for a medicinal cannabis operation in Collie that it says will create long-term local jobs. The cash, which is coming from the McGowan Government’s Collie Futures Industry Development Fund, will support Stage 1 of Cannaponics Limited’s venture in the town that involves a cannabis research, cultivation, extraction and manufacturing facility.
Cannaponics says Collie offers a perfect climate and excellent growing conditions for cannabis, with lots of sunlight and high annual rainfalls.
According to Cannaponics, stage 1 will see the construction of a 3,000 square metre greenhouse and manufacturing plant that will be capable of producing more than 10 tonnes of dried cannabis flower to then be processed into medicinal products. But the WA Government announcement only mentions a 1,000 sqm greenhouse, laboratory and warehouse, with production capabilities of 1,000kg of dried cannabis and equivalent extracts per year.
Perhaps this is stage 1 of stage 1.
The McGowan Government announcement says the Stage 1 operation is expected to support 50 local trades jobs over 12 months of construction and create approximately 24 permanent jobs on an ongoing basis.
“WA’s South-West has optimal conditions for this industry’s agricultural requirements: coupled with the work of the McGowan Government to attract and develop industry in Collie, the region is perfectly placed for a facility of this scale,” said Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan. “This project will help to put WA at the forefront of this rapidly growing industry and will drive new, long-term jobs in Collie.”
It will come as no surprise Cannaponics is pretty pumped about the announcement.
“We would like to thank everyone who has supported us to date as we move forward, bringing investment and growth back into Collie. A busy and productive future awaits!,” stated the company.
In addition to Cannaponics’ project, there may be other cannabis related activities in Collie in the not-too-distant future. Last August, Minister MacTieran announced $35,000 from the Collie Futures Small Grants Program (CFSGP) for WA Hemp Growers’ Co-op (HempGro) to develop a business case for a hemp processing facility, which could service 37 growers across the state.