ABConline, January 12, 2005

Australian Govt urged to stop Bayer´s GM crop trials

It is claimed an application for a new genetically modified (GM) crop trial licence in South Australia's south-east will permanently damage the state's reputation in the marketplace.

The Federal Government's Gene Technology Regulator has released notice of an application by Bayer CropScience to grow genetically modified indian mustard in the Naracoorte area.

Democrats agriculture spokesman Ian Gilfillan says there is the potential for an exemption to be granted for the crop much like the one granted for GM canola. He says the State Government must put a stop to new crops before things get out of control. "When the canola plantings, the limited plantings, were made public by the Democrats pushing the location be made public it was such an embarrassment that I said, in fact, that we had a disease of genetically modified crops particularly in the south-east but we can cure ourselves from that particular outbreak by making sure there aren't anymore," he said.

But Agriculture Minister Rory McEwen says the Gene Technology Regulator must approve the licence before the State Government considers it. "It would be at least two years before we would ever find ourselves in those circumstances," he said. "Bayer CropScience is following the right strategy and I've got full confidence that the environment, health and market's protected with our legislation."