The Genetically Modified Crops Management Act 2004 came into effect on 29 April 2004.
The Act provides for the designation of areas of the State for the purposes of preserving the identity of certain food crops according to whether they are genetically modified crops or non-genetically modified crops. The Act also provides certain protections with respect to the spread of genetically modified plant material and for powers to regulate the growing of genetically modified food crops.
Under the Act, areas of the State can be designated as areas in which genetically modified food crops of a specified class can or cannot be cultivated, or in which no genetically modified food crops may be cultivated.
Pursuant to Section 5 of the Act, the Genetically Modified Crops Management Regulations 2008, designate the whole of South Australia as an area in which no genetically modified food crops may be cultivated. The Regulations came into effect on 28 April 2008. The Minister may confer exceptions (See Exemption notices for current list) from the operation of Section 5 of the Act.
Any plant or plant material that forms part of a GM food crop grown outside South Australia, including seed for planting, harvested seed for cleaning, harvested grain for processing or export, or hay, is not permitted to enter South Australia.
Persons found guilty of bringing into South Australia any plant or plant material that forms part of a GM food crop grown outside South Australia can be fined up to $200,000.
The Act also provides for the establishment of a GM Crop Advisory Committee.
The meaning of a genetically modified organism (GMO) is given in the Gene Technology Act 2001.
The powers of authorised officers under the GM Crops Management Act are contained in Part 11, Divisions 3 to 5, and 7 to 11 of the Gene Technology Act 2001.
The Act applies to the cultivation of GM food crops only. It does not apply to non-viable GM products such as food, or to non-food GM crops such as ornamental flowers.
The Act recognises that farmers have a right to choose to grow GM crops or not, and that therefore appropriate systems for segregation and identity preservation need to be in place before the cultivation of GM crops commences. This is to avoid impacts on market access and market premiums that might arise from admixture and failure to meet market specifications.