Legislation to be introduced to lift GM ban

The Marshall Liberal Government will today introduce legislation to remove the moratorium on genetically modified crops on the South Australian mainland which will help our farmers grow the economy and create jobs.

New regulations to lift the GM crop moratorium in South Australia, except for Kangaroo Island, were meant to take effect on December 1 but Labor, SA Best and the Greens last week combined to play petty politics and deny our farmers a choice.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said it was time for South Australia to be brought in line with the rest of the country when it comes to GM crops.

“Last week we were challenged to bring forward legislation so we are doing exactly that and we will be asking the Parliament to deal with the Bill this week to provide our farmers with certainty for planning their 2020 crop,” said Minister Whetstone.

“The Genetically Modified Crops Management (Designated Area) Amendment Bill 2019 will designate Kangaroo Island as the only place in South Australia where the GM moratorium will exist from 1 January 2020 until it expires on 1 September 2025 as per current arrangements.

“Lifting the GM crop moratorium will allow South Australian farmers to have the same choices as farmers in our neighbouring states which will increase productivity and create jobs.

“By continuing to leave a moratorium in place the Labor Party are costing farmers in South Australia real money and denying them a basic right – choice.

“New and improved crop varieties will also help farmers tackle drought and climate change as we look to provide our grain growers with as many tools as possible.

“The decision to lift the GM crop moratorium followed extensive industry and community 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.

“The independent 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.”

Minister Whetstone said the GM moratorium has failed the state over the past fifteen years.

“Not only have the promised premiums failed to eventuate, South Australian farmers have been penalised by being GM free,” said Minister Whetstone.

“Instead of earning more than growers in other states, a comparison of canola prices across Australia on 28 November 2019 shows South Australian farmers are earning less, with our GM-free canola being discounted by the markets.

“The day after Labor, SA Best and the Greens combined to block lifting the GM moratorium, South Australian canola was trading $60 below the price of non-GM canola in Western Australia, $29 below the price of non-GM canola in New South Wales and $10 less than the price of non-GM canola in Victoria.

“Over the past fifteen years the GM moratorium has failed dismally and has achieved little more than to punish our farmers and discourage research and investment. It is time for politicians to put ideology aside and have trust in the ability of our farmers to grow the state.”

If the Bill does not pass Parliament this year the Marshall Liberal Government will reconsider regulatory options to provide choice to farmers.

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