GENET archive


6-Regulation: Victoria (Australia) goes for one-year GE canolamoratorium

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SOURCE: Minister for Agriculture, State of Victoria, Australia, Media Release
DATE:   May 8, 2003

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Commercial production of Genetically Modified Canola is being put on hold
this season, with an agreed one-year moratorium, the Bracks Government
announced today.

The Agriculture Minister, Mr Bob Cameron, said the moratorium was needed
to allow a detailed study of its impact on Victorian export markets.

"This decision is the next step in our careful and cautious approach to
addressing marketing issues relating to GM Canola," Mr Cameron said.

"A full market impact assessment for Victorian produce will be done
before the 2004 season commences.

"There have been concerns about the impact of the commercialisation of GM
Canola on Victorian export markets. These issues need to be
satisfactorily resolved before we can confidently move forward."

In March this year, the independent Office of the Gene Technology
Regulator issued preliminary advice that GM crops posed no risk to
health, safety, or the environment. The final ruling is expected in June.

Mr Cameron said the moratorium, agreed to by gene technology companies,
meant there would be no commercial planting of GM Canola even if the Gene
Technology Regulator issues a general licence.

The Federal Regulator does not have the scope to consider or make a
ruling on the market impact of commercial planting.

Mr Cameron said the Bracks Government wanted to resolve these issues for
Victorian producers to ensure any future move to GM crops would not
compromise markets.

"The Regulator's preliminary ruling is that the canola varieties proposed
for Victoria meet all health and environmental requirements. However, the
Victorian Government also has a responsibility to ensure our export
markets are protected," he said.

"For example, both the Australian Wheat Board (AWB) and the Australian
Barley Board (ABB) have set out their view that the commercial growing of
GM Canola may have an impact on their markets.

"A season's pause will help determine and clarify whether there are
significant market impacts."

                                  PART II
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TITLE:  Australia GM canola hopes fade with state ban
SOURCE: Reuters
DATE:   May 9, 2003

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Australia GM canola hopes fade with state ban

SYDNEY - The Australian state of Victoria banned commercial genetically
modified (GM) canola growing for at least a year yesterday, making it
unlikely such crops will be planted anywhere in Australia this year.

Some scientists say gene technology could help solve world hunger as GM
crops produce higher yields and are disease-and drought-resistant.
Opponents, however, say growing such crops threatens the environment with

"We do not agree on the need for a moratorium (but) we are committed to
working with the Victorian government to ensure the benefits of GM canola
are available to farmers for the longer term," a spokeswoman for Bayer
CropScience said.

The moratorium in Victoria was called to allow a study of its impact on
export markets, the state's agriculture minister said.

The decision comes around a month after federal authorities cleared the
way for Bayer to commercially release GM canola in Australia, subject to
an eight-week public consultation period.

Queensland was the only Australian state currently supportive of
agricultural biotechnology, the Bayer spokeswoman said.

"Canola is not a widely grown crop in Queensland, but it is possible we
might plant some (commercial) InVigor hybrid canola in Queensland," said
the spokeswoman.

Monsanto Co, which also has an application in for a commercial GM canola
release, is still looking for federal regulatory approval.

Canola is widely used as a cooking oil.