Mainland SA farmers to have choice with new GM regulations

11.10.2019

Farmers on the South Australian mainland will have freedom of choice in the crops they are allowed to grow from December 1, with new regulations gazetted to lift the GM crop moratorium.

The new regulations follow extensive industry and community feedback including a six-week statutory consultation period.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said the new regulations will empower South Australian farmers to have the same choices to use new and improved crop varieties as farmers enjoy in our neighbouring states.

“The decision to lift the GM crop moratorium follows consideration of all industry and community feedback from the statutory consultation, as well as the findings of the high-level independent expert review undertaken by Professor Kym Anderson and the recommendations of the GM Crop Advisory Committee,” said Minister Whetstone.

“A clear majority of submissions to the six-week statutory consultation supported the new regulations (59 per cent), with 128 submitters in favour of the immediate removal of the GM moratorium on the SA mainland while retaining the moratorium on Kangaroo Island.

“One submission was in favour of lifting the moratorium across the whole state including Kangaroo Island, 74 submitters opposed the proposal and a further 15 submissions opposed, however, the reasoning tendered was out of scope of the South Australian legislation.

“The Marshall Liberal Government has a strong reform agenda to strengthen the state’s economy and this decision will be an enabler to growing our agriculture sector. We are committed to supporting the $2 billion South Australian grains industry to be vibrant, productive and competitive.

“The independent Anderson review found the GM 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, harming the state’s ability to attract investment in agricultural research and development.

“The moratorium was also found to have discouraged public and private investment in agricultural research and development.

“As a result of the independent report’s findings and majority support of the public consultation, it is time to lift the moratorium on the mainland and allow farmers the opportunity to make informed choices about what to sow, based on their individual businesses and specific conditions.”

The new regulations will come into effect on 1 December 2019 to allow producers to make decisions about their crops for the 2020 season.

With four Parliamentary sitting weeks prior to 1 December, there is ample time for Parliamentary scrutiny of the regulations and tabling of the Parliamentary Committee’s report this year.

For further information - including submissions to the consultation - visit www.pir.sa.gov.au/gmreview

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