$160 million medicinal cannabis facility set for Greater Shepparton region

By Ashlea Witoslawski

The Greater Shepparton region has been selected as the ideal location for a new $160million medicinal cannabis facility for number of reasons including a perceived abundant water supply and long hours of sunlight. 

Australian medical cannabis enterprise Cannatrek announced last week the company had received all necessary planning permissions from Greater Shepparton City Council.

Cannatrek chief executive Tommy Huppert said it had been more than a year since the company purchased 72ha, which Country News believes is located near Lemnos.

Upon completion, the facility is set to be one of the largest medicinal cannabis facilities in the world.

Mr Huppert said the company visited a number of properties over several years, both within the local area and across regional Victoria, looking for specific features.

“Our main objective was to find a site where the sun is shining,” he said.

Mr Huppert said other essential features included access to a channel for water supply, as well as utilities.

He said the property would include a 160,000 square metre growing area in a giant, high-tech glasshouse.

Plants will be watered with a combination of water collected from the glasshouse roof, recycled water, channel water and town water if necessary.

Mr Huppert also said traditional hydroponic systems would be used at the site.

At full production, the company aims to produce 160 tonnes of medicinal cannabis per year.

“We believe that the region will become a major centre for the production of medicinal cannabis,” Mr Huppert said.

Mr Huppert said as many as 400 jobs would be available at the site, and the region was selected because of the high number of local people with significant skills in horticulture and agri-techology.

“We will be a major employer and there will be significant and positive knock-on effects in the region,” he said.

Greater Shepparton City Council welcomed the investment by Cannatrek. 

“Council is excited to see the potential for local employment and the investment into our region," a spokesperson said.

“We would also like to thank the state government for their support of our region and encourage other investors to talk to us about opportunities for growth and investment in Greater Shepparton.”

With the planning permits finalised, Mr Huppert said Cannatrek was now focusing on the building phase.

“Our aim is to cultivate, process and manufacture affordable medicinal cannabis as a clean, green, therapeutic product of choice for hundreds of thousands of patients in Australia and overseas,” he said.

“We are fortunate as a company to be a pioneer in this space.

“We are very excited to work with the Shepparton council and within the region.”

It is expected the project will be completed before the end of 2020.