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GM Secretariat Support
Primary Industries and Regions SA - PIRSA
Government of South Australia

By email:

To whom it may concern,

Re: Genetically Modified Food Crops Moratorium in South Australia

GrainGrowers is an independent and technically resourced, grain farmer representative organization with over 17,000 members across Australia. GrainGrowers’ goal is a more efficient, sustainable and profitable grain production sector that benefits all Australian grain farmers and the wider grains industry.

GrainGrowers strongly supports the South Australian Government’s plans to lift the moratorium on growing Genetically Modified (GM) Food Crops in all parts of mainland South Australia.

GrainGrowers has for many years considered that it is inequitable for South Australian farmers to not have access to the same technology (GM crops) that are available in other states of Australia. We support the findings of the Independent review of South Australia’s moratorium on the cultivation of GM food crops undertaken in late 2018, which found the moratorium had cost South Australian grain farmers at least $33 million since 2004.

GrainGrowers believes that grain farmers should always have the freedom of choice for the production systems and markets they pursue – be that genetically modified organisms (GMO), conventional, organic or any combination of these. Removal of the moratorium would allow choice for farmers and marketers in the crops they grow and purchase.

The ability to access GM technology is essential for the continued development and growth of the grains industry in Australia. By farmers having access to effective technology, they can ensure their farming systems are resilient and able to manage the many challenges faced in a modern farming environment. This in turn allows us to maintain our international competitiveness and export earnings, with significant benefits for farmers, the land they manage, the rural communities they operate in, consumers and the Australian economy.

GrainGrowers supports a science-based approach to the use of any technology, including genetically modified organisms. A rigorous regulatory framework exists through the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator to assess the environmental and public health aspects of all GM technology. GrainGrowers

Coupled with this, industry supply chains across Australia manage a wide range of segregations including for GM and non-GM crops, which can accommodate crops from different farm production systems. This supply chain system already has appropriate mechanisms in place to deal with low level presence in line with international standards. On this basis, the South Australian supply chain would also be able to manage all segregations and ensure customer needs are met.

The fact that South Australia has a GM moratorium also means that any physical movement of GM material (seed for planting crops for example) from east to west or vice versa must go via Northern Territory. This imposes a significant and unnecessary transport cost burden on all other states that have access to use this technology and limits broader growth of the Australian economy.

GrainGrowers supports the removal of the moratorium on GM crops in South Australia as quickly as possible to allow South Australian farmers to participate at the forefront of innovation and remain globally competitive. Should you require any further information in relation to this submission, please contact Lucy Darragh, Policy Officer, on (02) 9286 2000 or ua.moc.sreworgniarg@hgarrad.ycul.

Yours sincerely,

Mr David McKeon
CEO, GrainGrowers