Lifting stifling GM moratorium gives farmers a choice

The Marshall Liberal Government has today announced farmers on mainland South Australia will be given the choice to plant Genetically Modified (GM) food crops next season.

The decision to lift the Genetically Modified Food Crops Moratorium on mainland South Australia, but retain it on Kangaroo Island, follows recommendations from a high-level independent review undertaken by Emeritus Professor Kym Anderson AC.

A statutory six-week consultation will commence today and following its completion the Government will introduce new regulations giving farmers choice and lifting the GM moratorium across mainland South Australia.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said the Anderson Review found the GM moratorium in South Australia provided no price premium compared with GM crop growing neighbouring states.

“The Anderson Review found 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, harming this state’s ability to attract investment in agricultural research and development,” said Minister Whetstone.

“Considering the future economic impact on farmers, it is time to lift the moratorium on the mainland and provide farmers choice on crops they seek to grow.

“This reform will help increase farm profitably and drought resilience, create job opportunities in our regions, grow the state’s economy and attract greater research investment.

“Given the moratorium was justified by the former Labor Government for marketing and trade purposes and the review found there is no premium for South Australian grain when comparing data on prices from neighbouring states, it is time our farmers are rightly given the choice on what they grow­­­.

“Both Grain Producers South Australia and the GM Crop Advisory Committee recommended lifting the moratorium on mainland South Australia while recognising that one group of producers on Kangaroo Island has an established market for non-GM canola in Japan.”

Minister Whetstone said earlier consultations found there were farmers on Kangaroo Island who did want the option of planting GM varieties in the future.

“Retaining the moratorium on the Island will provide a chance to prove to existing markets segregation can be as successful and reliable in the South Australian grains industry as it is in other Australian states,” said Minister Whetstone.

“The Marshall Liberal Government has a strong reform agenda and commitment to grow our agriculture sector and this reform complements measures already in place such as abolishing payroll tax for small businesses, slashing Emergency Service Levy bills, and the Flinders Ports’ channel widening project.

“We need to be able to give our farmers the choice to take advantage of any new GM crops and pastures that may come to market, particularly given the challenges with a variable climate.”

The statutory consultation commences today with submissions to inform the new regulations accepted until 5pm, 30 September 2019.

In accordance with the Genetically Modified Crops Management Act 2004 formal written submissions will be accepted, and public meetings will be held in Adelaide and Kangaroo Island.

For more information visit

feature mediarelease