PGA APPLAUDS REPEAL OF GM CROPS FREE ACT
On behalf of the Pastoralists and Graziers Association of WA (PGA), I am pleased to announce that the GM Crops Free Areas Repeal Bill 2015 passed through the Legislative Assembly of the Western Australian Parliament on Thursday October 20.
The capacity of WA grain farmers to exercise freedom of choice to grow GM crops has been a long and at times frustrating journey.
GM crops were introduced on the world stage in 1996. At the time, the PGA recognised that adopting new technology was essential if WA farmers were to remain competitive and productive.
In 2003, the Commonwealth Government Office of the Gene Technology Regulator approved the release of GM canola. This followed rigorous evaluation and extended public consultation.
At the time, the Regulator said, "The comprehensive risk assessment has demonstrated to me that the commercial scale release of Roundup Ready canola will not pose a risk to human health and safety or the environment."
The Gallop state Labor government introduced the GM Crops Free Areas Act 2003 and this banned all GM crops from being grown in WA.
Under the chair of Mr Leon Bradley, the PGA Western Graingrowers Committee commenced lobbying efforts to overturn this ban.
In 2008, the Barnett state Liberal government announced a GM canola trial.
In 2010, Agriculture Minister Redman granted an exemption to grow GM canola commercially.
PGA lobbying continued under successive PGA Western Graingrowers Committee Chairs, Mr Rick Wilson and Mr John Snooke to repeal the Act.
In November 2014, the GM Crops Free Areas Repeal Bill 2015 was read into the Legislative Assembly of the Western Australian Parliament.
It has taken 13 years to give WA farmers unfettered access to a technology that reduces herbicide use, reduces weed burden and reduces farm machinery fuel use.
Whilst it gives me great pleasure to preside over this momentous occasion, I must acknowledge the hard work of those Chairs of the PGA Western Graingrowers Committee who preceded me.
Further, I thank all those who have lent a hand, offered assistance, put their shoulder to the wheel or just plain helped.
On behalf of the PGA and its members I would also like to thank the Premier and his Government for repealing the GM Crops Free Areas Act 2003.
I commend his Government for its strong support of science and innovation in Western Australian agriculture.
PGA Western Graingrowers Chair
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Western Australia 6005
PO Box 889
Western Australia 6872
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