March 23, 2004,
just-food.com: March 26, 2004, just-food.com:
With Australia’s moratorium on the cultivation
of genetically modified crops ending in May, both sides
of the dispute over GMOs anxiously await while several
Australian states make their decisions how best to proceed
on the issue of commercial cultivation of GM crops.
Early decisions are not looking good for the biotech
Western Australia, Victoria announce they are not ready
for GM crops, at least not yet
The Australian state of Victoria has announced a ban
on commercial plantings of genetically modified canola.
The ban will be in force for four years.
The premier of Victoria, Steve Bracks, referred to
persisting deep divisions and uncertainty within industry,
the farming sector and regional communities about the
impact of GM crops on markets. "It's clear there
is concern about the unrestricted commercial release
of GM canola within industry, in particular from many
farmers," he said in a statement.
The move follows a statement from the state of Western
Australia at the beginning of the week that it had banned
commercial plantings of GM food crops in order to protect
its “clean and green” reputation.
The move in Victoria has prompted strong criticism
from farmers, reported Dow Jones. Farmers argue that
the government has fallen victim to a scare campaign.
In a decision announced earlier this week, Western
Australia became the first Australian state to ban the
commercial growing of genetically modified crops.
Premier Geoff Gallop said the state would be declared
a GM-free area in order to protect its “clean
and green” reputation, Dow Jones News reported.
"The cautious approach was also reflective of
overwhelming public opinion in W.A. and consumer sentiment
around the world," Gallop was quoted as saying.
Gallop said his government’s pre-election promises
included a five-year moratorium on the commercial growing
of GM food crops.
"During the past three years, public opinion in
W.A. has further strengthened against the intrusion
of GM technology into the food chain," he said.
The ban only includes growing GM crops for commercial
uses, and therefore small field trials will still be