Western Australia and Tasmania urge States to maintain GM moratoria
Western Australian Agriculture and Food Minister Kim Chance and Tasmania Primary Industries and Water Minister David Llewellyn have jointly called on Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia to maintain their moratorium on the commercial production of Genetically Modified (GM) crops.
(Media-Newswire.com) - Western Australian Agriculture and Food Minister Kim Chance and Tasmania Primary Industries and Water Minister David Llewellyn have jointly called on Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia to maintain their moratorium on the commercial production of Genetically Modified ( GM ) crops.
The Ministers urged the governments of these States to respect the wishes of Australian consumers, food manufacturers and farmers for the moratoria to be maintained.
“If Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia lift their GM moratoria, it will increase the risks to WA and Tasmania’s GM-free agriculture and threaten Australia’s overseas markets,” Mr Chance said.
“Opening up other parts of Australia to GM crops could lead to large-scale contamination, subsequent risks to market access and price premiums currently enjoyed by Australian canola farmers, while imposing higher costs on them for product segregation.”
Mr Llewellyn said that the likelihood of contamination of non-GM canola crops throughout Australia would undoubtedly be increased by any decision to lift the moratorium.
“In 2004, GM canola managed to contaminate crops in all canola growing States of Australia, despite the fact that each State had a moratorium in place,” he said.
The Ministers said the safest and most secure future for Australia’s farmers and consumers was in the production and consumption of GM-free foods and not in pursuing GM food crops that had been rejected by consumers because of health concerns.
Mr Chance said Australian farmers currently produced food of the highest quality and safety for both local consumption and export to a range of overseas markets.
“We are heavily reliant on our export markets and lifting the GM moratorium could jeopardise this trade relationship,” he said.
Mr Llewellyn said it could damage Australia’s international reputation as a source of reliable, safe and GM-free food.
“Clearly Australian consumers are concerned about the food they eat, and value Australia’s “clean and green, GM-free’ status,” he said.
In Tasmania, there is currently a Joint Select Committee reviewing its GMO moratorium, which is due to end in mid-2008.
Mr Llewellyn indicated that it was very untimely for New South Wales and Victoria to lift their bans following Federal Labor’s win in the election, as this was an area of national policy that needed to be reviewed for the Australian brand and market advantage internationally.
“Unless consumers tell us otherwise, WA will not be changing its policy on GM food,” Mr Chance said.
“The moratorium supports Australia’s ‘clean and green’ status and is also reflective of overwhelming public opinion in WA and consumer sentiment around the world.”
Media contacts: Minister Chance’s office: 9213 6700 Minister Llewellyn’s office: 03 6233 2451
This story was released on 2007-11-27. Please make sure to visit the official company or organization web site to learn more about the original release date. See our disclaimer for additional information.