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 industry
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”
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
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 permitted.