GENET archive


6-Regulation: Australian Federal Minister of Agriculture asks States to stop GE crop bans

                                  PART I
-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  Scrap ban on GM crops, Truss asks states
SOURCE: Sydney Morning Herald, Australia
DATE:   28 Jun 2005

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Scrap ban on GM crops, Truss asks states

The federal government is stepping up pressure on the states to lift
their bans on the cultivation of genetically modified food crops.

Most states have moratoria in place on GM crops until 2008, but the
situation varies in each jurisdiction.

Federal Agriculture Minister Warren Truss believes the bans are
"unscientific" and has again called for them to be scrapped.

He has criticised the states for sending delegations to the BIO 2005
conference in the United States this week in the hope of attracting
biotechnology investment, while still maintaining the moratoria.

"How can the states and territories hope to attract any investment while
they keep their moratoria on GM crop cultivation in place?" Mr Truss said
in a statement.

"You also have to question the credibility of Victoria hosting next
year's Agricultural Biotechnology International Conference while
maintaining a moratorium on the commercial use of agricultural biotechnology."

Cotton is the only broadacre crop in Australia that contains GM plants,
while the cut-flower industry is permitted to grow genetically modified
blue carnations around the country.

About 80 per cent of the national cotton crop, grown in NSW and
Queensland, is now made of GM varieties.

Queensland is the only state without a moratorium and relies on
regulation by the federal Office of the Gene Technology Regulator.

NSW, while allowing GM cotton, has a moratorium on commercial GM food
crops to 2006, along with South Australia and the ACT.

Moratoria are in place in Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia until 2008.

There are also different rules in each state for regulating and managing
research and development and field trials.

Mr Truss said the government has invested about $1.3 billion in
biotechnology-related research and development since 2003 and more
farmers should be able to take advantage of GM advances.

"The real losers are Australian farmers who are quickly falling behind
their major competitors as they are denied the benefits of new
technologies," he said.

"How much longer can Australian farmers match overseas competitors if
unscientific state bans on genetically-modified organisms deny them
access to higher-yielding, pest and disease resistant, drought-tolerant
plant varieties?

"These bans are usually based on claims that being GMO-free will deliver
marketing advantages for Australian products. How many more years do we
have to wait for the so-called market advantage to eventuate?"

                                  PART II
-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  Farm group rejects Truss GM crops call
SOURCE: Australian Broadcasting Corporation
DATE:   30 Jun 2005

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Farm group rejects Truss GM crops call

The Federal Agriculture Minister's call for an end to state bans on
genetically-modified (GM) crops has been labelled as ignorant by a farm
lobby group. Representatives of all states have sent delegates to a
biotechnology conference in the United States this week, but federal
Minister Warren Truss has questioned how they hope to attract
biotechnology investment while a GM ban is in place. Mr Truss has also
questioned claims that by being GM-free, Australia will have a marketing
advantage over overseas competitors. Julie Newman, from the Network of
Concerned Farmers, says there is already evidence of market restrictions
being imposed on countries that grow GM crops. "He only needs to open his
eyes, even with wheat there's no customer that wants GM wheat," she said.
"It is not talking about a premium, it's talking about market access and
those that don't want GM do not want them at any cost."

                                  PART III
-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  SA Minister tells Truss GM bans are valid
SOURCE: Mt Gambier News, Australia, by David Klar
DATE:   30 Jun 2005

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SA Minister tells Truss GM bans are valid

South Australian Agriculture Minister Rory McEwen has labelled calls for
rubber-stamping of commercial production of genetically modified crops
from his federal counterpart Warren Truss saying it is extraordinary and
there will be no State review for the next three years. McEwen says the
legislation is soundly based and until it can be demonstrated that GM
crops don't put normal or boutique crops at risk there is no way there
will be a review with evidence there is a premium for non-GM.

                                  PART IV
-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  WA GM crops moratorium to remain
SOURCE: Australian Broadcasting Corporation
DATE:   1 Jul 2005

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WA GM crops moratorium to remain

Western Australian Agriculture Minister Kim Chance says the Government
has no intention of changing its stance on genetically modified (GM)
crops. Federal Agriculture Minister Warren Truss has called on the states
to end the ban on the cultivation of GM crops, saying it is discouraging
investment in biotechnology. Mr Chance says there are still a lot of
questions that need to be answered about GM crops and WA's moratorium
will remain in place. "I can see no reason to change our present
position, indeed we want to understand a lot more about the advantage and
disadvantage with respect to GM and in particular in relation to market
advantages and disadvantages," he said.


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