Business SA calls for South Australia’s GM crop ban to be lifted

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 20th October 2011

A business lobby group in South Australia is calling for the State Government to lift its ban on genetically modified crops.

There are currently no GM crops grown commercially in South Australia with the possible exception of blue carnations and carnations with an extended vase life. Apart from Tasmania, South Australia is the only State to have a ban on GM crops.

The Chief Executive Officer of Business SA, a group that lobbies on behalf of the businesses in South Australia, Peter Vaughan said that the State’s GM ban is detrimental to the food industry.

In a statement passed on to Australian Food News, Mr Vaughan said that regulatory “burdens” throughout the food supply chain must be eased to encourage greater efficiency for businesses in South Australia.

Mr Vaughan said, “Genetically modified crops have overcome many of the challenging conditions faced by growers and an extensive trial would address the issues, concerns and benefits.

“It is important to get the balance right between ensuring our long term food supply and recognising the benefits of producing naturally grown products,” Mr Vaughan said. “We must make an informed decision as to whether the current ban is in the best interests of our growing population and the future of our State.”

Federal Senator argues for GM crop ban to remain in SA

Meanwhile, Independent Federal Senator for South Australia, Nick Xenophon said the ban should stay so that South Australia can keep its “clean, green reputation”.

“There are risks of cross-contamination when it comes to GM, so while some farmers may want to use GM, what about those who don’t?” Senator Xenaphon said. One of the State’s biggest businesses, the wine industry, does not support GM.”

Bob Phelps, Director of Gene Ethics, an Australian non-profit advocacy group for food and crops free of genetic manipulation told Australian Food News that the ban in South Australia makes “good economic, public health and environmental sense.”

Mr Phelps said, “Local, European and Japanese canola buyers so strongly demand GM-free canola that Australian farmers are earning an extra $50 per tonne premium for their GM-free harvest. South Australia is in a very strong position to keep its competitive advantage for GM-free.”