Govt ready to introduce GM bill

Govt ready to introduce GM bill

Cropping
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Genetically-modified crops are back on the state parliamentary agenda, with the government planning to introduce new legislation this afternoon.

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Genetically-modified crops are back on the state parliamentary agenda, with the government planning to introduce new legislation into parliament this afternoon to allow the cultivation of GM crops.

The move comes after Greens MLC Mark Parnell reiterated his intent to put forward a disallowance motion against the government's change to regulations in late December, which technically made GM crops legal in SA as of January 1.

The government said the introduction of new legislation would ultimately ensure certainty for growers and allow for considered debate.

New legislation could potentially remove the need for a disallowance motion, which SA Best crossbenchers said they would support again - having also backed a disallowance motion from Mr Parnell in late November.

Having considered their position on GM crops during the Parliamentary break, SA Best issued a statement to Stock Journal - before the government revealed its intentions to introduce legislation this afternoon - saying their position was clear.

"We fully support the introduction of GM crops, but it needs to be an equal playing field," the statement said.

"We support farmers and their rights to choose to grow the crops of their choosing, but there needs to be choice, flexibility, compromise and protections for GM and non-GM producers."

SA Best also said it had been considering introducing a bill of its own, one which they said would "ensure all stakeholders are satisfied".

The statement said this potential bill would likely include "a person being able to request the EPA (Environment Protection Authority) undertake an inspection of a GM crop if they believe their own property is contaminated; a designated buffer zone between a GM crop and non-GM crop paddock; and the requirement for a GM crop farmer to give 60 days notice before cultivating and harvesting their crop".

"A person will be able to pursue the patent holder if they have suffered loss without needing to prove negligence, and of course will still be able to pursue any other civil remedy that might also be available to them," the statement said.

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