Genetically Modified Food Crops in South Australia
Changes to regulations under the Genetically Modified Crops Management Act 2004 will enable Genetically Modified (GM) food crops to be grown in South Australia with the exception of Kangaroo Island from 1 January 2020. These regulations have been tabled in Parliament and will be subject to Parliamentary processes.
A new amendment bill has been introduced into parliament by the South Australian Government and is scheduled for debate in March 2020.
Reviews and Consultation
Changes to the regulations follow a number of reviews and taking consideration of extensive consultation.
Purpose of the SA Genetically Modified Crops Management Act 2004
State Governments can only regulate GM food crops where there are risks to markets and trade. The South Australian Genetically Modified Crops Management Act 2004 and regulations were put in place for this purpose. The continuing moratorium on the commercial cultivation of GM food crops on Kangaroo Island has been retained to support access to key markets for Kangaroo Island grain.
The Commonwealth’s Gene Technology Act 2000 establishes a national co‑operative regulatory scheme for gene technology and this legislation deals with human health and environmental impacts of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). It is through this scheme that the science relating to GMOs is assessed before any crops are approved for use by farmers.
Other committee reports
The growing of GM crops has been considered by Parliamentary Inquiries both in South Australia and in Western Australia.
Legislative Council Select Committee on Moratorium on the Cultivation of Genetically Modified Crops in South Australia
A Select Committee of the Legislative Council was established to inquire into and report on the moratorium on the cultivation of Genetically Modified (GM) crops in South Australia.
Submissions to the Legislative Council Select Committee on Moratorium on the Cultivation of Genetically Modified Crops in South Australia and their final report can be found on the Parliament of South Australia website. The committee’s final report tabled on 29 October 2019 is also available from this page.
Standing Committee on Environment and Public Affairs – Mechanisms for compensation for economic loss to farmers in Western Australia caused by contamination by genetically modified material.
On 6 December 2017, this standing committee of the Western Australian Parliament commenced an inquiry into Mechanisms for compensation for economic loss to farmers in Western Australia caused by contamination by genetically modified material. The committee sought public submissions and reported its findings in February 2019.
Information to consider for implementing GM Canola
The following list provides you with some key considerations () if you are planning to grow GM food crops:
- What GM cultivars are you looking at planting?
- Will it fit in with your current cropping rotations?
- How will you segregate your GM seed from non-GM seed?
- What farm machinery cleaning and hygiene processes will you have in place to ensure your GM and non GM seed remain segregated?
- Have you discussed this with your neighbour, in terms of management of the segregation from their crops?
- Where will you obtain your GM seed? For example, is your seed source an accredited supplier of GM cultivars?
- What are the terms of the licence or contract you will need to enter into with the seed supplier, e.g. a stewardship program and training for the management and handling of GM seed or the requirement for a Canola Crop Management plan?
- What you need to consider in the preparation of these plans:
- all bags of seed are labelled
- seed of different varieties are stored separately
- seed is stored in vermin-free areas
- lot numbers of all seed sown are retained
- records are kept of where each seed lot was sown on the property
- records are kept of where harvested seed is stored on the property
- What transport arrangements will you have for the seed from the supplier to your property?
- Have you checked with your bulk handler if they will receive and be able to segregate for GM seed?
- How will you segregate and transport your GM crop to the bulk handler?
- Have you checked with your grain trader as to the market requirements, market opportunities for GM seed?
The Western Australia Department of Agriculture and Food has published the following papers on issues to consider when planting GM canola:
- On-farm segregation of canola varieties: provides information to assist canola growers with on-farm segregation of different canola varieties.
- GM canola: A weed management option – provides information on the tolerance levels for GM canola and the requirements growers need to meet to plant GM canola.