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South Australian GM canola 'trials' threaten GM-free status

09 November 2010

Bayer Cropscience has applied to 'trial' genetically manipulated herbicide tolerant canola at 21 sites of up to 6 hectares each, in Victoria and 'GM-free' South Australia, from January 2011. The South Australian government has granted the proposed 'trials' an exemption from the ban on GM canola, in force until 2014 at least.

Gene Ethics Executive Director Bob Phelps says: "Victoria and NSW experience shows that so-called 'trials' were used as a lever to end GM bans and allow the unconditional, unrestricted and uncontrolled commercial growing of GM canola."

"We urge the South Australian government, with the support of the Liberal opposition, the Greens and most independents, to keep the GM genie in the bottle totally and permanently."

"The federal Office of Gene Technology Regulator is expected to notify six South Australian local government areas - Grant, Kingston, Mt Gambier, Naracoorte/Lucindale, Robe and Wattle Range - of Bayer's intention to hold GM trials, despite their long history of council opposition to GM crops."

"Gene Ethics has asked these councils to renew their opposition to GM crops by rejecting the proposed trials in their areas."

"They should take their lead  from the Donnybrook-Balingup Shire in Western Australia."

At their last meeting, Donnybrook-Balingup shire councillors unanimously opposed Monsanto's application to field trial GM canola in their area from 2011 to 2014.

"Every time the state's GM-free status is compromised, South Australia's GM-free farmers risk losing the $15/tonne premium they now receive as favoured suppliers of GM-free canola."

"Previous GM canola 'trials' were always during summer when conventional canola crops were not grown. But the summer and winter plantings now proposed would greatly increase the risk that wind and insects will contaminate the winter canola crop in south eastern South Australia with GM pollen and seed.

"Gene Ethics' Cropwatch program has uncovered numerous instances of rogue GM canola growing on roadsides and contaminating non-GM supply chains wherever GM canola is grown."

"Keeping South Australia GM-free should be a priority for government, the food industry and shoppers," Mr Phelps concludes.

 

Background

Weatherill drives pre-election debate - ABC ...

South Austraila: GM-Free till 2014!

 

Some recent GM canola contamination

http://www.smh.com.au/environment/gm-canola-found-outside-containment-area-20090924-g4s9.html

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/11/26/2429844.htm

Rogue GM canola found on roadsides, eaten by sheep

 

Proposed Local Government Areas in which GM canola and Indian mustard may be released during winter and summer growing seasons

Winter growing season

Summer growing season

Victoria

South Australia

Victoria

South Australia

Ararat

Grant

Ararat

Grant

Colac-Otway

Kingston

Colac-Otway

Kingston

Corangamite

Mount Gambier

Corangamite

Mount Gambier

Glenelg

Naracoorte/Lucindale

Glenelg

Naracoorte/Lucindale

Golden Plains

Robe

Golden Plains

Robe

Hindmarsh

Wattle Range

Moorabool

Wattle Range

Horsham

 

Moyne

 

Moorabool

 

Northern Grampians

 

Moyne

 

Southern Grampians

 

Northern Grampians

 

Surf Coast

 

Warrnambool

 

Warrnambool

 

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