South Australia extends moratorium on GM crops


On February 8, the South Australian government voted to extend its moratorium on commercial GM crops, despite Victoria and New South Wales recently legislating to allow commercial GM plantings. Western Australia and Tasmania still have bans in place.

SA Premier Mike Rann said his cabinet was concerned about the probable effect on the state's food exports if GM crops were allowed.

Say No to GMO activist Janet Grogan told Green Left Weekly that the decision was a victory for the anti-GMO campaign. "This is good news from the Rann government. We applaud them for making this decision based on economic and scientific assessments and the common good, rather than pressure from the powerful biotech lobby. It sets a positive precedent for other states and gives encouragement to the campaigns."

The SA Farmers Federation criticised the decision, its president Wayne Cornish saying farmers will miss out on lucrative opportunities.

But SA agriculture minister Rory McEwen argued that the state will have a marketing edge, especially with GM-free grapes and wine, by continuing its GM ban.

Grogan said the next step in the campaign is strict liability legislation. "This is urgently needed to protect SA and other states from the inevitable contamination problems that will come from NSW and Victoria when they go ahead with lifting their bans at the end of this month", she warned.