GM crops Bill passes Parliament

The Marshall Liberal Government’s Legislation to lift the Genetically Modified (GM) moratorium and allow GM crops to be grown on mainland South Australia has passed Parliament.

This gives farmers the certainty to plan well in advance of the 2021 grain growing season.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said this is an historic day for farmers in South Australia.

“South Australian farmers have been looking forward to this day for nearly two decades,” said Minister Whetstone.

“By lifting the GM moratorium on mainland South Australia, we are backing our farmers and researchers to grow the state’s agriculture sector and create jobs.

“Now the legislation has passed Parliament our grain growers have the certainty they need to invest in GM seed and plant GM crops in time for the 2021 grain growing season.

“After 16 years and millions of dollars in lost economic and research opportunities, it is a historic day for farmers in this state who can look forward to the choice in what they want to grow.

“Lifting the moratorium will bring South Australia into the 2020s and put our farmers on a level playing field with their counterparts around the country who have had access to GM technology for at least a decade.

“Our farmers will now have more tools in the toolbox to boost the agriculture industry as they battle drought and a changing climate.

“The decision to lift the GM moratorium followed a high-level independent expert review, extensive industry and community consultation and the recommendations of the GM Crop Advisory Committee.

“The independent review found the so-called price premiums for being GM-free were a myth and the moratorium has cost South Australian grain growers at least $33 million since 2004 and will cost farmers at least a further $5 million if extended to 2025.”

Mr Pederick said “The lifting of this ban will greatly expand the choices to SA farmers and will also fully capitalise on research opportunities at the Waite Research Facility through the full utilisation of the plant accelerator. This opens up potential for the use of drought and salt tolerant varieties into the future.”

 

Under agreed amendments to the Marshall Liberal Government’s ‘Genetically Modified Crops Management (Designated Area) Amendment Bill 2019’, local councils will have a time-limited ability to apply to be a GM crop cultivation free area and the moratorium will remain on Kangaroo Island.

While councils will be able to apply to have the moratorium continue within their municipality, the final decision will rest with the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development.

The ability for councils to apply to be a non-GM crop cultivation area will expire six months after the legislation being assented to.