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9-Misc: GM-free news from South Australia

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TITLE:  GM-free news from South Australia
SOURCE: Australian Broadcasting Corporation, SA Country Hour Summary
DATE:   Jul 18, 2003

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Nothing to change on SA's GMO front - Leigh Radford

The state Select Committee on genetically modified organisms believes its
report will guarantee the traditional base of GM-free of South Australian
agriculture. The committee has recommended legislation that will prohibit
GM crops in some regions of the state. It also places the onus of
responsibility on those wishing to grow GMs to guarantee there is no
impacts on others and that's a huge hurdle for those advocating co-
existence. Select Committee chairman Rory McEwan says the legislation
will remain in place until a parliamentary advisory committee is
convinced GM and conventional crops can co-exist. And he admits the bar
has been set very high. "As long as you can guarantee coexistence, and
some very strict rules surround that, then it is possible to go through a
process, and at least have a conditional release. Because trade and
market issues depend on consumer sentiment, which is always changing, we
must always have the options there. Now, the only way to have the options
is to guarantee coexistence. Now some people say that's not possible.
We're not making that judgment, but we're actually saying you have to
prove that's possible before you can have a release."

Rory McEwen:Minister for Industry, Trade and Regional Development & Chair
of the Select Committee on genetically modified organisms


SAFF not at odds with GM survey - Amy Bainbridge

Meanwhile the South Australian Farmers' Federation is at odds with views
from its Victorian and NSW counterparts on the issue of GM crops. The
Federation is the only state-farming organisation to have surveyed its
members about GM crops. SAFF President John Lush says the survey, which
found 80 per cent of farmers still had concerns about GM release,
highlights the need for a market-based moratorium on GM production. He
said the select committee's report highlights the views of SAFF farmers.
"Our members have been telling us, very clearly, that there are a lot of
problems, but the overriding thing is that they don't want to jeopardise
their markets at this stage until AWB and ABB clearly come out and say
that their customers are respecting of the technology - then, I think,
most of our members will be accepting of the growing of GM crops but not
until then. We have to reflect the wishes of our members; we don't have
an option there. We're actually the only federation in Australia that has
surveyed their members so we have a very clear understanding of what our
members think - nobody else has actually done that."

John Lush:President, South Australian Farmers' Federation


Mallee farmers says GM just 'too hard' - Amy Bainbridge

Now to some reaction from the Mallee to the select committee's report
into Genetically Modified crops. Gary Flohr is a cropping farmer at
Lameroo, and he's the southern mallee representative on South Australian
No Till Farmers Committee. He said he supports a cautious approach to GM,
but it is now critical that research pushes ahead. "Pretty much I agree
with what John [Lush] and Rory McEwan said, that we probably do need some
sort of breathing space to get all this together, but my main thing is
that research must continue. We're not quite ready to start planting it
from fencepost to fencepost. But it sounds like it's heading in the right
direction. How to you logistically handle the co-existence part?
Obviously one or two per cent contamination will not be acceptable so
that means that everything has to be totally divided - somehow. And until
our customers are prepared to accept that then it probably can't really
happen, it's too hard - that's how I see it anyway."

Gary Flohr:Cropping farmer at Lameroo & southern mallee rep on SA No Till
Farmers' Committee.


SE farmer on GMs - Kathy Cogo

Alan Schinkel, a vegetable seed producer and poll dorsett breeder from
Naracoorte wishes there was a lot more consultation about GM at the grass
roots level. He said that he would be happy if the South Australian
government refused commercial release of GMOs for the time being. "I'd be
quite pleased to have that result but the situation needs to be looked at
on a continuing basis. I don't think we should shut our eyes completely
to GMOs but it's probably important that this be across the whole
country. One of our problems is that we have different rules for
different things in different states and being so close to the border it
could be a problem. I'm not anti GMOs as far as GMOs go, I'm mainly
concerned about the future of our markets. If whoever's buying our
products doesn't want GMO products why in hell would we want to try and
grow them for?" Asked if he thought the farmers have been listened to on
this debate he said, "No, not at all. No, I don't think so. I think it's
been driven from the top and the questions have been asked of the wrong
people. They should be talking to Tatiara Meats, Tees Brothers, Coles,
all those people that process meat, the Barley Board who export grain.
Are they going to be able to handle stuff that's been GMO grown or been
fed GMO products?"


European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering

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