Oz - Gene Giants face meltdown as GM snuffed out in yet another State (1/4/2004)

The British and Australian Prime Ministers, Tony Blair and John Howard, are amongst George Bush's staunchest allies but even they cannot deliver their countries over to the biotech industry.

Three Australian States shut the door on GM crops last week and now a fourth State has ruled out a 3000 hectare trial of genetically modified canola after strong opposition from the Australian Wheat Board (AWB).

In the space of just over a week the 4 States have ruled out any large-scale growing of GM crops. Western Australia, the nation's biggest crop producer, started the ball rolling on Monday of last week. The following day Tasmania voted for a ban. Then on Thursday, Victoria said it would extend its moratorium on GM crops by four years, until 2008. Now it's the turn of New South Wales (NSW).
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Wheat Board snuffs GM canola trial
Daily Telegraph(Australia), April 1, 2004

The NSW Government has ruled out a 3000 hectare trial of genetically modified canola after strong opposition from the Australian Wheat Board (AWB).

NSW Agricultural Minister Ian Macdonald said three small research trials for GM canola would go ahead to test different varieties of GM canola plants against traditional canola.

Today's announcement dashes the hopes of agri-business giant Monsanto, Bayer CropScience and Australian Oilseeds Federation, which had hoped to trial the 3000 hectares of GM canola this year.

Western Australia and Tasmania have both banned GM crops, while Victoria last week extended its moratorium on the technology by four years.

Mr Macdonald said he had decided not to proceed with the 3000 hectare trial at this time because of concerns raised by AWB Ltd, one of the main stakeholders, which voiced concern about the possibility of exporting the crop.

"If one takes into account the fact that the AWB is the largest grain exporter by a significant factor ... we have to be very careful that we don't upset their markets.

"Hopefully, the AWB and the other grains organisations and the proponents can consider the issues in the future and if they can find some unity then a proposal could be put forward some time in the future."

AAP


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