Tasmania's GMO ban to stay until 2014

Primary Industry Minister David Llewellyn
Primary Industry Minister David Llewellyn

TASMANIA's ban on the commercial release of genetically modified food crops will continue for at least another five years.Primary Industries and Water David Llewellyn announced the extention to November 2014 today and said move would make the State's primary produce even more desirable.``Tasmania's GMO-free status is a key factor in the Tasmanian brand and is therefore vital to Tasmania?s primary producers realising their full potential in international and interstate markets.''Mr Llewellyn said there are exciting opportunities for Tasmania's primary industries, operating under the Tasmanian brand. ``The markets are demanding, and are prepared to pay for, food that is clean, green, high quality and safe. ``Tasmania is already well-positioned to meet that demand and our decision to extend the GMO ban makes the Tasmanian brand even stronger. ``The decision by some other Australian States to relax their GM bans has actually increased the value of Tasmania's GMO-free status and that creates opportunities for even better access to prime markets across the globe. ``The hard work done over recent years has ensured Tasmania is well-placed to take full advantage of its reputation as a reliable supplier of the best and safest food to a range of new markets that will arise out of the maintaining of the ban. ``The State Government and the Brand Tasmania Council will be developing a more aggressive marketing campaign to maximise the business opportunities flowing from extension of the GMO ban.''Mr Llewellyn said the Department of Primary Industries and Water would be actively working with industry to investigate GMO-free seed production and other opportunities. ``Clearly, the growing demand in premium markets for non-GM food will also see a growing demand for non-GM seed stock for both crops and pastures that will flow into industries such as dairying and beef, to value-add to their products in the market place.''Tasmania's GMO policy: * Prohibits use of gene technology in commercial agriculture, horticulture, forestry, fisheries, bioremediation and pets; * Does not apply to gene technology use in contained research and medical or non-agricultural industrial use where there is no risk of release to the environment; * Allows specific authorisation of some types of research if risks of escape of GM organisms to the environment is low enough; * Prohibits import of viable GM organisms which could establish in the environment (eg GM canola seed); * Does not prohibit import of non-viable materials derived from GMOs (eg feed containing GM soya bean meal); * Continues the eradication program at former trial sites at which residual GM canola occurs; and, * Supports continued Tasmanian participation in national GMO and food safety regulation systems. Copies of the gene technology policy can be found at www.dpiw.tas.gov.au