August 15, 2003 -- CropChoice
news -- Australian Broadcasting Co. South Australia has
come close to slamming the door on GM crops, following the findings
of a parliamentary committee.
The committee has recommended that legislation be introduced delaying
the commercial release of GM crops until it can be guaranteed that
the state will not lose markets.
Select Committee chairman Rory McEwan says the legislation will
remain in place until a parliamentary advisory committee is convinced
GM and conventional crops can co-exist.
And he admits the bar has been set very high:
"As long as you can guarantee coexistence," he said,
"and some very strict rules surround that, then it is possible
to go through a process, and at least have a conditional release.
Because trade and market issues depend on consumer sentiment, which
is always changing, we must always have the options there. Now,
the only way to have the options is to guarantee coexistence. Now
some people say that's not possible. We're not making that judgment,
but we're actually saying you have to prove that's possible before
you can have a release."
Meanwhile, a Western Australian plant breeding specialist says
his State Government's moratorium on genetically modified crops
will force researchers to head overseas to complete their work.
Dr. Ian Edwards is the Chief Executive of Grain Biotech Australia,
a private company that breeds crops resistent to a range of pests
Doctor Edwards says the company is ready to field test its barley
yellow dwarf virus resistence technology, which he says could be
a major breakthrough for wheat growers.
But with a moratorium in place at least until 2006, he says the
trials may have to take place overseas.