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7-Business: Australia will loose AUD 3 Mill from GE crop ban



                                 PART I
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TITLE:  $3 Billion Loss From GM Ban
SOURCE: Weekly Times, Australia, by Megan Mcnaught, posted by AgBios, Canada
        http://www.agbios.com/static/news/NEWSID_7326.php
DATE:   23 Feb 2006

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$3 Billion Loss From GM Ban

Australia will forgo $3 billion over the next 10 years if it does not adopt
genetically modified technology.

Australian Academy of Technical Sciences and Engineering fellow Prof Tim Reeves
told the Australian Dairy Conference in Mount Gambier last week that the GM
issue would be of increasing relevance to the dairy industry.

His view was backed by a report by South Australia's director-general of
agriculture John Radcliffe, that highlighted the $3 billion cost to
agriculture, which prompted debate at the conference.

Prof Reeves said a more digestible ryegrass could improve production per cow by
25 per cent, but if the public was reluctant to purchase products, the
technology would be irrelevant.

Historically, he said, it took decades to swing deep-rooted public perception.

Prof Reeves said dairy was fortunate that most state government moratoriums
currently in place were focussed on GM food crops rather than pasture.

The GM issue was one of many discussed at the conference, which incorporated the
Dairy Science Forum and Dairy Innovators Forum.

The science forum ran over two days and included more than 30 presentations from
researchers on topics including genetics, pasture and farming techniques.

The two-day Dairy Innovators Forum that followed proved popular, with 150 seats
sold weeks in advance, despite the $600 attendance fee.

Issues discussed included genetically modified pasture, city investors and
cloning.

Conference chairman Terry Hehir said feedback had been positive for the smaller
scale format.

But he said it was likely the conference would return to the larger scale format
next year, with smaller conferences every second year.

Among those who attended the innovators' forum were Ruth Poole and Ros Brennen,
dairy farming friends from Margaret River in Western Australia.

They said they had made the trip because they wanted to be exposed to positive
ideas.

''Everyone is very negative in Western Australia (about dairying) so we wanted
to come over here and mix with people who have a positive outlook,'' Mrs Poole
said.

Mrs Brennen said it had been a bonus to meet farmers who had big operations and
weren't afraid to take risks.


                                 PART II
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TITLE:  Democrats will maintain GM ban
SOURCE: Eyre Peninsula Tribune, Australia
       
http://www.cleve.yourguide.com.au/detail.asp?class=news&subclass=local&story_id=460969&category=general%20news&m=2&y=2006
DATE:   23 Feb 2006

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Democrats will maintain GM ban

The South Australian Democrats have announced they will move to support the
State's ban on genetically modified (GM) crops when the Parliament resumes
after the State Election.
Democrat Ian Gilfillan said one of the reasons behind the move is some markets
are still extremely cautious about genetically modified foods.

"Recent premium prices paid by Japan for Kangaroo Island GM-free canola is clear
evidence that markets still strongly prefer GM-free produce to produce that has
been contaminated," he said.

"To abandon our GM-free status now risks losing access to some of the world's
best and most sensitive markets.

"This would be disastrous for our state economy, which relies heavily on
agriculture.

"The South Australian Democrats believe that as more and more producing
countries lost their GM-free status, we stand to benefit increasingly from our
ability to guarantee GM-free products."

Member for Flinders Liz Penfold believes farmers should be involved in making
any decision on an extension to the GM ban in SA and will "be led by them."

"We've had a five-year moratorium and now it's up to the farmers," she said.

"The first decision has to be whether we will join with the rest of the State
and then it's up to everyone whether we go down the (GM) path."

Mrs Penfold said she thinks people are more aware of all the issues surrounding
GM crops and believes more people are now in favour of growing GM crops.

The current ban expires in April 2007.


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GENET
European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering

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