Independent GM Moratorium report released

20.02.2019

The State Government has today publicly released the independent review of the South Australian Genetically Modified (GM) Food Crop Moratorium which found the moratorium has cost SA grain farmers at least $33 million since 2004.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said the State Government will now consider Professor Kym Anderson AC’s report and the 19 findings.

“The Marshall Liberal Government committed to conduct an independent expert review of the state’s GM Food Crop Moratorium and we have now delivered on that,” said Minister Whetstone.

“The report comprehensively debunks many of the myths perpetrated by the former government and exposes the costs to South Australia’s farmers and economy of the GM moratorium.

“The report conservatively estimates the cost to our farmers of the GM moratorium since 2004 is up to $33 million, and if extended to 2025, farmers face losing at least another $5 million.

“Investment in agricultural science has suffered under the moratorium, with the review finding the GM moratorium has discouraged both public and private investment in research and development in this state.

“The former Labor Government continually spruiked the significant premiums for South Australia’s non-GM canola, however the report debunks this view, finding there is no premium for SA grain when comparing data on prices of grain from neighbouring states.

“Professor Anderson advises a majority of the non-campaign generated submissions to the review favoured the immediate removal of the state’s moratorium on GM crop production and transport.

“A small number of submissions favoured a proposal to retain the GM moratorium on Kangaroo Island if the review was to result in removing the moratorium on the South Australian mainland.

Minister Whetstone said the government will consider a number of factors from the review, including the ability to attract research funding.

“One of the submissions from a highly ranked South Australian university argues the removal of the GM moratorium would provide benefit to the state through attraction and retention of research dollars and post graduate students,” said Minister Whetstone.

“These are all issues the Government will need to consider in making a decision on the future of the GM moratorium.”

Minister Whetstone thanked Professor Anderson for his comprehensive review into the GM moratorium, a document that will help pave the way for a stronger future for the grains industry.

 

Key Findings - Independent Review of the South Australian GM Food Crop Moratorium

Finding 4.1 - The cumulative cost to canola farmers of South Australia's GM crop moratorium is estimated to be up to $33 million over 2004-18, and will be at least another $5 million if the moratorium is kept until 2025— and possibly much more if Omega 3 canola proves to be higher priced and more profitable than current Roundup Ready canola.

Finding 3.1 - Data on canola exports from Australian states to the European Union do not support the view that South Australians enjoy better access in EU non-GM grain markets.

Finding 3.2 - The only data provided in submissions on prices of grain in South Australia versus grain in neighbouring states suggest that since 2012 there has been no premium for grain from South Australia despite it being the only mainland state with a GM crop moratorium.

Finding 2.3 - The majority of submissions, including those from organizations representing most of South Australia's farmers, favour the immediate removal of South Australia's moratorium on GM crop production and transport.

Finding 2.2 - If GM food crop production were to be allowed in the rest of South Australia, Kangaroo Island would be able to preserve its unique identity so as to retain access to Japan's high-priced market for GM-free grain provided the island remained a GM-free zone.

Finding 3.4 - The persistence of a GM crop moratorium in South Australia, especially in the face of the removal of moratoria a decade ago in neighbouring states, has discouraged both public and private agricultural R&D investments in this state.

Finding 2.4 - Bringing South Australian legislation into line with other mainland states and the Commonwealth will benefit the state by attracting/retaining research dollars, scientists and post-graduate students in South Australia.

Finding 3.3 - The experience of GM canola production and marketing in other mainland states over the past decade reveals that segregation and identity preservation protocols and practice codes can and do ensure the successful coexistence of GM and non-GM crops in Australia.

Finding 4.4 - Additional farmer benefits from being allowed to grow GM crops, not included in the above calculus, are (a) having more varieties to choose from to best suit specific environments and seasonal weather anomalies, (b) environmental and health benefits from reduced farm chemical applications, and (c) a likely boost to the value of farm land whose productivity and profitability is raised.

To view the full list of findings of the report of the Independent Review of the South Australian GM Food Crop Moratorium visit www.pir.sa.gov.au/gmreview

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