South Australia to stay GM-free! (8/2/2008)

1.South Australian GM-free decision applauded
2.South Australia to stay GM free - ABC News
3.South Australia to stay GM-free - Herald Sun


1.South Australian GM-free decision applauded
Gene Ethics News Release February 8 2008

The South Australian government's decision to stay GM-free for at least another two years should be a wake up call to the GM jockeys in Victoria and NSW. SA joins WA and Tasmania in saying that GM-free is a key to the clean, green appeal of Australia's primary products, to shoppers around the world.

'We applaud the SA government's good sense, by keeping the whole state GM-free despite their advisory committee's recommendation that only Kangaroo Island be GM-free,' says Gene Ethics Director, Bob Phelps.

'We call on Victoria and NSW to follow the SA lead and extend their GM crop bans.

'Victoria and NSW would be grossly irresponsible to allow Monsanto, Bayer and Nufarm to play Genetic Roulette in our GM-free environment.

'Rational governments would share the SA view that Australians have:

'yet to be convinced allowing GM crops will have a positive impact on the marketing of our food and wine to our important export destinations around the world.'

'The overwhelming weight of evidence shows that markets will be adversely affected in Europe and Asia by contaminating our food exports with GM products. And ABARE says our GM-free will earn premiums.

'The vast majority of farmers, food processors, shoppers and marketers want to stay GM-free on economic, safety and environmental grounds.

'We therefore urge the NSW and Victorian governments to also heed the market signals which led the SA government to maintain their GM-free ban and say it is more responsible than allowing GM canola.

'SA has wisely heeded the warnings of Foodland, Coles and Japanese meat importers, that their customers don't want to eat GM foods. So should all Australian governments.

'SA correctly warns that there's simply no turning back if the bans expire and commercial GM canola is planted everywhere, without restriction as the Vic and NSW governments intend.

'It amounts to releasing the plant equivalent of the cane toad.

'Active community concern about the many known impacts of GM canola has been key to the SA government's far-sighted decision.

'We urge all caring Australians to participate in the SA government's six-week public consultation on the changes to the law that will extend the GM ban in SA,' Mr Phelps concludes.

More comment: Bob Phelps 03 9347 4500 or 03 9889 1717 (home)


2.South Australia to stay GM free
ABC News, 08/02/2008

South Australia will keep its ban on growing genetically modified crops.

The announcement ends weeks of speculation about whether the state would follow the lead of Victoria and New South Wales, which have abandoned their moratoriums.

SA Agriculture Minister, Rory McEwen, says the decision was influenced by the views of major commodity markets for South Australian produce.

'On balance, Cabinet felt that there was no reason to lift it', he says.

'The risks to present markets outweighed the opportuinities that might be created in the next 12 months or more, around being able to grow two GM canola crops'.


3.South Australia to stay GM-free
By Tim Dornin
Herald Sun, February 8 2008

SOUTH Australia will maintain a ban on genetically modified (GM) crops, a move welcomed by environmental groups but widely criticised by the scientific community.

Premier Mike Rann and Agriculture Minister Rory McEwen said the current moratorium, due to expire at the end of April, would be continued to maintain the state's clean and green image.

The decision went against a report from South Australia's GM Crops Advisory Committee, which recommended lifting the ban across the state, except on Kangaroo Island.

It was also in contrast to the approval given to canola farmers in Victoria and NSW to start growing GM crops this year, but in line with similar moves by Western Australia and Tasmania.

Scientists said the decision was 'astonishing'' and 'lacking courage and vision''.

Ian Edwards, advisory group chairman with AusBiotech, Australia's biotechnology industry peak organisation, said the move went against market realities.

'They have instead pandered to fringe groups and have rendered a great disservice to the farmers of South Australia,'' Dr Edwards said.

Mr Rann said the Government was yet to be convinced that allowing GM crops would have a positive impact on marketing the state's food and wine to important export destinations around the world.

'It makes sense for us to maintain our current position until there's more certainty regarding the impact of exporting GM grains,'' he said.

'We must be mindful that there's simply no turning back once the moratorium has been lifted.

``Maintaining the moratorium now will enable us to monitor developments elsewhere.''

South Australian Greens MP Mark Parnell said the decision was to be applauded, but warned contamination of SA farms from GM crops grown in Victoria was now a threat.

'GM seeds will not respect state borders,'' he said.

'International experience shows that it is impossible to successfully segregate GM and non-GM crops.''

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