States review GM crop moratorium

Feds urge States to allow GM canola

Posted Sun Aug 12, 2007 5:16pm AEST
Updated Sun Aug 12, 2007 10:38pm AEST

Federal Agriculture Minister Peter McGauran has accused the states of holding back opportunities in genetically modified canola for Australian farmers.

Mr McGauran has released a new report, which he says proves the states should lift their bans on GM canola when they expire next year.

Australia currently supplies about 20 per cent of the canola in the world. (David Hedley)The report cites Canada as an example of a country reaping the benefits from genetically modified canola.

Australia currently supplies about 20 per cent of the world’s canola, free of genetic modification.

Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania are currently reviewing their moratoriums on GM canola.

Mr McGauran says there are no health risks from the product and the decision on whether to grow it should be up to farmers.

"The Government doesn’t support one production system over another, whether it’s organic, conventional or GM – we do believe farmers deserve the choice," he said.

"Australian farmers, without the access to GM crops, will be left behind.

"It’s a technology they cannot afford to be denied."

But an anti-GM group has hit out Mr McGauran’s comments.

The director of Gene Ethics, Bob Phelps, says genetically modified products are a turn-off, and Australia would be better financially to avoid them.

"There will be premiums, particularly in the European and Japanese markets, but increasingly in China, we’re going to be big marketers to China," he said.

"China is about to introduce a labelling regime for gene manipulated food crops as well, which will in fact notify Chinese food buyers of whether something is GM or not."

Source: ABC News  

 

 

Panel to review moratorium on GM crops in NSW

16 Jul 2007

The State Government has appointed an independent panel to review the NSW moratorium on commercial planting of genetically modified (GM) food crops.

The review will be comprehensive, exploring issues directly associated with trade and market access resulting from the potential production of commercially grown GM food crops in NSW.

The NSW Gene Technology Act 2003 (GM Crop Moratorium) expires in March 2008. The State Government is keen to canvass all the possible options and stakeholder opinions before making a decision on the future of GM crops after March next year.

The review is about exploring the impacts on marketing and trade of either extending or modifying legislation, or allowing it to expire.

From the outset it is important to understand that State Government is responsible for legislation identifying and managing the risks of these two areas – trade and market access.

The Commonwealth regulates the use of GM in Australia as it relates to human health and safety and the environment. There needs to be a clear delineation of these responsibilities before the review gets underway.

In NSW, GM canola can currently only be grown for research purposes, when an exemption order is awarded. However, this season no GM canola is being grown in NSW.

The review will assess the expected impacts on marketing, trade and investment for NSW of:

  • Extending the Gene Technology Act 2003 and maintaining the status quo;
  • Amending the Act and removing the moratorium orders; and
  • Allowing the Act to expire.

It will be chaired by former Nationals Minister for Agriculture, Ian Armstrong, and supported by agricultural scientist and lawyer Kathryn Adams and Professor Timothy Reeves.

The panel will shortly release details of the process for stakeholder consultation and submissions.

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