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GMO-FREE REGIONS: South Australian community meetings focus on GM crops




                                  PART 1


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TITLE:  COMMUNITY MEETINGS FOCUS ON GM CROPS

SOURCE: Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Australia

AUTHOR: 

URL:    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/07/19/1982669.htm?site=northandwest

DATE:   19.07.2007

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COMMUNITY MEETINGS FOCUS ON GM CROPS

A series of community meetings is being held across South Australia as part of a review into the Genetically Modified (GM) Crops Management Act. Under the Act, which is due to expire in April next year, GM food crops cannot be cultivated anywhere in SA unless an exemption is granted. The executive officer of the GM Crop Advisory Committee, John Cornish, says the meetings will provide a chance to discuss some of the options for GM food crop production after April. ”As part of the review process we’ve organised a number of meetings, five meetings around the state, and the purpose of the meetings is to explain to people a bit of the background as to why we have the Act now, to then talk about why we are reviewing it, issues that we’re interested in exploring with stakeholders, and to finally encourage them to make submissions,” he said.



                                  PART 2

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TITLE:  CRUNCH-TIME FOR SA'S GM FUTURE

SOURCE: North Queensland Register, Australia

AUTHOR: Paula Thompson

URL:    http://nqr.farmonline.com.au/news_daily.asp?ag_id=43909

DATE:   18.07.2007

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CRUNCH-TIME FOR SA'S GM FUTURE

Crunch-time has come for the future of genetically modified crops (GM) in South Australia.

While many believe GMs will bring benefits, such as drought-tolerant crops, others, such as organic growers, are fearful of cross-contamination and the loss of Australia’s clean-green image.

A review of SA’s Genetically Modified Crops Management Act 2004, which states that GM food crops cannot be cultivated anywhere in the State, has started.

Submissions are being taken by the review, with a report to be prepared for the Genetically Modified Crop Advisory Committee.

The committee will then make recommendation to Agriculture Minister Rory McEwen.

Mallala farmer John Lush, a member of the Federal Government’s Biotechnology Advisory Committee and president of the Food Science Futures Foundation, says great gains are to be made from GM technology.

”If a farmer has been successful over the past 10 to 20 years, in all probability a large percentage of that is due to science in food production,” he said.

GM could offer benefits to crops such as heat stress resistance, salt tolerance, and more efficient water use.

”Other farmers around the world have already benefitted,” he said.

”If you talk to farmers in Canada, they are a long way ahead of us.

”They are using GM technology to plant things like GM canola, which is putting them a long way ahead.

”If GM technology was already in place in Australia, the pain of last year’s drought would not have been as great.”

Consumer acceptance of GM food will grow, he says.

”If you ask people whether they will eat GM food that is proven to be of benefit to the environment, through the use of less fertiliser, I believe the answer will probably be ’yes’,” Mr Lush said.

But Biological Farmers of Australia board member and GM spokesperson, Scott Kinnear, said too many risks would be involved in lifting the moratorium on GM crops.

- More information: www.pir.sa.gov.au

SOURCE: Extract from full report in the Stock Journal, SA, July 19.



                                  PART 3

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TITLE:  ORGANIC FARMERS CONCERNED GM CROP LAWS WILL SLIP

SOURCE: Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Australia

AUTHOR: 

URL:    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/07/11/1975815.htm?site=riverland

DATE:   11.07.2007

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ORGANIC FARMERS CONCERNED GM CROP LAWS WILL SLIP

Australia’s peak organic farming body says it is concerned a review of South Australia’s Genetically Modified Crops Act will lead to a relaxation of controls on genetic (GM) plantings. SA has a moratorium on the commercial planting of GM crops which expires in April next year. The Biological Farmers of Australia group says the ban in SA and other states is helping stop problems of contamination found in countries like the United States. The group’s director, Scott Kinnear, says the review which is under way could be cause for concern. ”We understand there’s a big push on by the people who are pro this technology to get it out there,” he said. ”We’re very concerned that there may be a relaxing of the laws in some way. ”To go to open commercial release would be an unmitigated disaster in our view, if the government is really serious about having a look at this, step one should be conducting national, independent variety trials.” Individuals or organisations can comment on the regulation of genetically modified crops until August 3.



                                  PART 4

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TITLE:  PUBLIC COMMENT SOUGHT ON MORATORIUM ON GENETICALLY-MODIFIED ORGANISMS

SOURCE: Tasmanian Government, Australia

AUTHOR: Press Release

URL:    http://www.media.tas.gov.au/release.php?id=21483

DATE:   14.07.2007

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PUBLIC COMMENT SOUGHT ON MORATORIUM ON GENETICALLY-MODIFIED ORGANISMS

Tasmania’s policy and moratorium on the use of gene technology in primary industries is being reviewed.

A Parliamentary Committee chaired by David Llewellyn, MHA, today called for submissions on the future of the policy.

Current arrangements prevent the commercial release of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) in Tasmania.

”The GMO Control Act is due to expire in late 2009.

”Before this happens, the Tasmanian Government needs to decide whether it should continue with the current policy and the moratorium, make changes to them or drop them altogether,” Mr Llewellyn said.

”To inform this decision, a Joint Select Committee will examine whether the current approach remains appropriate.”

It also will report on the most effective policy to serve Tasmania’s future market interests and consider the potential advantages and disadvantages of allowing or not allowing the use of GMOs in primary industries here.

He said that the Committee will investigate market sensitivities to GM produce, contamination of non-GM seeds and grains with GM material, management of former GM canola trial sites in Tasmania, use of stockfeed that is GM or derived from GMOs and new developments in gene technology.

The Committee is calling for written submissions to the review, and will provide opportunity for people or organisations to present verbal evidence before it.

The Tasmanian Government first released its gene technology policy for primary industries in 2001 and the moratorium has been in place since then.

Submissions to the review are open until 19 October.

The Joint Select Committee comprises Ruth Forrest MLC, Kim Booth MHA, Gerg Hall MLC, Lin Thorp MLC, Sue Napier MHA and Mr Llewellyn, MHA (chair).


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