Liability for GM crop contamination unclear (18/3/2008)

1.Liability for GM crop contamination unclear

2.Greenpeace maintains Strathdownie GM crops fight

3.GM grain test stopped, Government blamed


1.Liability for GM crop contamination unclear says Opposition
ABC News, March 17 2008

The New South Wales Opposition has warned the State Government's decision to lift the moratorium on genetically modified (GM) canola crops will open a pandora's box of problems.

The Opposition's Parliamentary Secretary for Primary Industries, Rick Colless, says contract harvesters have already told him they will not be stripping GM crops because it is impossible to guarantee seeds will have been fully removed from a header before entering a non-GM property.

He says the Government has failed to identify who will be responsible for contamination.

'That's one of the contentious issues that we had during the debate, which was who's liable in the case of contamination,' he said.

'Is it the grower, the seed company or the person who receives the contaminated material unwanted?

'Is he left to clean up the mess on his own expense?'


2.Greenpeace maintains Strathdownie GM crops fight
ABC News, 18 March 2008

Greenpeace is continuing its opposition to genetically modified (GM) canola crops.

A group of protesters entered one of five trial sites at Strathdownie in Victoria's far south-west on the weekend.

Greenpeace spokeswoman Michelle Sheather says it is inevitable that contamination with non-GM crops across the South Australian border will happen.

She says a further moratorium is needed so tougher guidelines can be in place before the first crops are planted next month.

'Victoria and New South Wales really need to think these issues through very, very quickly because they're going to be planting in April,' she said.

'We need to be able to be sure that there is no damage either economically or environmentally to the majority of farmers' crops from the small amount that is going to be planted next year.'


3.GM grain test stopped, Government blamed
JODIE THOMSON The Western Australian, 18 March 2008

WA's first broadacre trial of genetically modified canola has been abandoned, with project proponents blaming the State Government's hardline stance against commercial use of the technology for its failure.

The South-East Premium Wheat Growers Association and research provider Kalyx Agriculture announced the 2.5ha trial of Roundup Ready canola, which had been given approval to go ahead this year at an Esperance research station, would not proceed after they were unable to get access to seed for the trial.

SEPWA president Chris Reichstein said the group had hopeful of securing seed until recent comments by Premier Alan Carpenter at the Pastoralist and Graziers Association's annual conference, where he said there was 'no hope' of the Government lifting its ban on GM food crops in WA. 'The political reality in WA is that there is no opportunity for commercialisation of the GM canola cropping system in the foreseeable future (so) there is no incentive for the companies to dedicate resources here,' Mr Reichstein said.

He said farmers would watch with interest performance of GM canola varieties now permitted in NSW and Victoria, where the moratoria had been lifted.

'Given a favourable performance there, we will continue to apply pressure to the Government to allow WA farmers to have commercial access to this,' he said.

Pioneer Hi-Bred Australia national marketing manager James Holden said the company would focus on Victoria and NSW with its Roundup Ready crop technology, which was designed to give better weed management and higher yields to growers, arguing there was currently no commercial pathway for the technology in WA.

Agriculture Minister Kim Chance said yesterday he was also disappointed the trials would not go ahead, because they would have provided an independent examination of whether the GM crops held any 'agronomic advantage' for WA farmers.

'We can look forward to learning something of the economic performance as a result of trials in NSW and Victoria,' he said. 'I will be interested to see, though, if there are any independent trials in either of those States either and that will be the ultimate test.' But Slade Brockman, of the PGA, which is calling for the moratorium to be lifted, said growers in NSW and Victoria would now have a production advantage over WA growers with world-best technology [!!!].

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