|Parliament votes down commercial GM trials in Western Australia (14/9/2006)|
While legal and commercial mayhem's broken out in the US rice industry, as a result of gene escape from GM trials several years back, the Liberal Party in Western Australia is apparently gagging to have commercial GM trials on the basis of pie in the sky about non-existent GM "frost-tolerant and salt-tolerant crops".
WA Parliament votes down commercial GM trials
A WA Liberal Party proposal to allow commercial trials of genetically modified canola has been defeated in Parliament.
The Opposition wants GM canola grown in a pilot program next year with a view to full commercial release.
However, the Government does not support lifting the moratorium on GM crops, saying WA farmers are able to attract higher prices for their crops because international markets have reservations about genetically modified food.
The Nationals leader Brendon Grylls has told Parliament he cannot accept the argument that all GM crops should be banned so a few tonnes of canola can be sold at premium prices.
"Ten per cent of the canola exported from Western Australia is sold into that market," he said.
"We're not talking about enough to rule out GM cotton in the north, about the expansion of the oil feed industry into biofuels, and the other gains that could be made with frost-tolerant and salt-tolerant crops going into the future."
Mr Grylls has called for the area around Esperance to be used as a natural biosphere in which GM crops are tested.
"I think that you should make a biosphere around Esperance because Esperance is separated from the rest of the agricultural region," he said.
"That way the rest of the state could get a clear indication of what GMO [genetically modified organisms] could do in that particular region, on a full size commercial scale, and then we'd actually be having a debate on what had actually happened, rather than what might happen."