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6-Regulation: South Australian governmnent opts for strictlycontrolled of GE crop trials

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TITLE:  State Government moves on GMOs
SOURCE: Your Yorke Peninsula News, Australia, by Kathryn Crisell Probst
DATE:   Jul 29, 2003

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State Government moves on GMOs

Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, Mr Paul Holloway, has
announced Cabinet's response to the Select Committee report into
Genetically Modified Organisms, adopting in full its recommendations.

The announcement came on the same day the Office of the Gene Technology
Regulator issued a licence for the commercial release of Bayer
CropScience's InVigor hybrid canola.

Legislation is being drafted to prevent the release of genetically
modified crops in South Australia, except under very strict conditions.

The legislation, to be introduced into parliament later this year after
public consultation, will allow Ministerial approval for "limited and
controlled research on GM be conducted under highly-regulated
conditions. Trials will not be for commercial purposes", said Mr Holloway.

It will also prohibit GM crops on Kangaroo Island and the Eyre Peninsula
"until their communities decide otherwise".

Yorke Peninsula has not been flagged as an exclusion zone.

District Council of Yorke Peninsula CEO, Steven Griffiths, says they have
only ever received two letters from constituents opposing GM crops on the
peninsula, and council considered they were not the relevant authority to
make that decision.

"We decided to leave it to the powers that be - whether that is the State
Government or the agricultural industry.

"We certainly have not made any attempts to control it in this area."

Australian Democrat's Ian Gilfillan, who proposed a five-year moratorium
on GM crops in this State, in responding to the Select Committee's Final
Report, says it "hands to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and
Fisheries dictatorial powers to pick and choose where GM crops are grown
in SA.

"This is a completely unacceptable situation and gives farmers no rights
or security in safe guarding their incomes. The Committee has put too
much faith in coexistence; which is an impossibility."

While welcoming a provision to allow Eyre Peninsula and Kangaroo Island
to be declared GM free, Mr Gilfillan questions why this "advantage" has
been denied the rest of the State's farmers.

Meanwhile, Gary Burgess, from the South Australian Farmers' Federation
(SAFF) GM Taskforce, has welcomed the State Government's move.

"It's what the select committee recommended", he said. "Of the 16
recommendations, SAFF made 10 of them, so we are pleased with the
findings of the committee.

"This program of pause and release is sensible. The bar is high but set
at a level farmers can work with. This means farmers are protected from a
choice their neighbour makes either way.

"Although, with InVigor being released by the OGTR today, should someone
want to grow that crop, you have a legally released crop that is illegal
to grow in some areas. That reduces your rights as a farmer."

Gary says the biggest problem with GM Free areas will be policing them
and this will mean changes in practice, such as continuity of paperwork
to give a verifiable traceback.

"South Australia will be left in a much better position than any other
State because of SAFF and the select committee having enough vision and
faith in our industries in South Australia to challenge us to establish a
viable and robust segregation system that is able to survive
international scrutiny to protect our markets", he said.


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