GM crop regulation changes goes to early vote

Result soon: State Parliament will soon vote the regulation changes of South Australia's genetically modified crop moratorium.
Result soon: State Parliament will soon vote the regulation changes of South Australia's genetically modified crop moratorium.

In less than a week, voting on changes to South Australia's genetically modified crop moratorium will take place in Parliament.

Taking a stance against the recommendations of the GM Select Committee, Greens Senator Mark Parnell said the Marshall Government had found a loophole to make changes to the moratorium before the 2025 expiry date.

"Since they can't lift the moratorium entirely without passing legislation through both (parliamentary) Houses, they are instead sneakily changing the area that the moratorium relates to through regulations, leaving only Kangaroo Island as GM-free," he said.

"Although the Upper House can disallow these regulations, they may not be tabled in Parliament in time for us to do so before they come into effect on 1 December 2019.

"That means that the moratorium could be lifted on 1 December 2019, and then reimposed in early 2020, if the Upper House disallow the regulations."

Mr Parnell said The Greens had reintroduced a Bill so an early parliamentary decision would give farmers more certainty when deciding on next year's crop management.

Voting is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, November 27.

Minister for Primary Industries Tim Whetstone said the government was prepared to support the select committee's three recommendations if the moratorium was lifted.

"The Parliament cannot ignore the evidence provided to the committee and continue to leave a moratorium in place based on ideology which is costing farmers in South Australia real money and denying them a basic right - choice," Mr Whetstone said.

"South Australian farmers should have the same choices to use new and improved crop varieties to tackle drought and climate change as farmers enjoy in our neighbouring states.

"Under the new regulations, if a farmer wants to remain GM-free they can do so, just as segregation has proven to be successful and reliable in other Australian states."

The recommendations:

- The Minister work with primary producers and the food and wine industry to outline key steps and milestones to enhance marketing opportunities.

- The State Government work with all relevant government departments to support and provide marketing assistance to South Australian primary producers, the wider food and wine industry, relevant representative bodies, associations and industry groups which want to remain GM free.

- The Minister ensures a suitable and widely recognised non-GM label is accepted and used by SA primary producers and the food and wine industry which want to remain GM free and have that status recognised locally, nationally and internationally.

This story GM crop vote nears first appeared on Barossa & Light Herald.