Western Australia Ahead Of The Rest
Western Australia Premier Colin Barnett
Western Australia Minister for Agriculture and Food Terry Redman
GM Choice For WA Canola Growers
Victor P Taffa
The State Government today announced genetically modified (GM) canola could from this year onwards be grown in Western Australia.
Western Australia Minister for Agriculture and Food Terry Redman has approved an exemption order under the Genetically Modified Crops Free Areas Act 2003 to permit the cultivation of GM canola, which will offer growers added choice in their cropping systems.
Premier Colin Barnett said giving farmers access to GM canola fulfilled a key election promise to allow planting of GM cotton in the Ord Irrigation Scheme and the approval of commercial-size trials of canola.
“This decision brings WA into line with the other major grain-growing States, New South Wales and Victoria, where growers have been able to grow GM canola commercially since 2008.” Premier Barnett said.
“WA farmers are some of the best in the world, but they need to have access to new technology like GM canola to remain competitive in the global marketplace.”
Mr. Redman said commercial trials in WA last year demonstrated successful cultivation and segregation of GM canola.
“The 17 commercial growers of GM canola throughout the agricultural areas were impressed with the performance of the GM technology package when compared with other varieties of canola.” Mr. Redman said.
More than 1,200 tonnes of GM canola were delivered to designated CBH Group received sites during the trial.
The report on the trials indicated there were 11 minor events and all were managed appropriately and segregation from paddock to port was achieved.
Mr. Redman said GM canola yields were comparable to non-GM varieties. Growers reported the GM technology allowed efficient weed control and ease of management including the option to dry seed.
“I do not expect GM canola to be suitable for all farming systems but it provides an additional tool for WA growers. Growers continue to have the choice of growing non-GM varieties.” the Minister said.
“Western Australia is the major canola producing State in Australia and in 2008-09 we exported $535 Million worth of canola – most of it to our top five markets Netherlands, France, Pakistan, Japan and Belgium.”
“Access to modern technology is important for WA agriculture to help growers improve profitability and maintain international competitiveness.” Mr. Redman said.
Major WA grain grower organisations support broader access to GM technology. GM canola varieties available in Australia have been deemed safe for human health and the environment by the Australian Gene Technology Regulator.
A detailed report has been produced by the Department of Agriculture and Food on the 2009 GM canola trials and this would be made available to the public. The department would also provide information on growing and segregating GM and non-GM canola.
Access the report and more information on GM canola: http://www.agric.wa.gov.au/gmcrops