Agriculture Minister Kim Chance today appointed Parliamentary Secretary Tony McRae to chair a Ministerial reference group which will explore issues relating to genetically modified crops.
The group, made up of representatives from industry, education and science organisations and marketers, will report to the Government with expert advice on the use of genetically modified organisms in Western Australia’s agricultural crops.
Mr Chance said Mr McRae’s parliamentary experience and strong interest in agriculture would be advantageous to providing useful and objective advice as the group’s chair.
“I am confident Tony McRae will provide constructive guidance to the reference group as they develop advice on logistical, agronomic and marketing issues relevant to the use of biotechnology in agriculture,” the Minister said.
“The reference group will be helpful in informing Government on the current status of GM crop technology and its relevance to WA, and in providing advice on the effect of the GM Crops Free Areas Act 2003.”
Members of the group include WA Farmers president Trevor De Landgrafft, CBH operations division general manager Colin Tutt, CBH marketing general manager Dr Andy Crane, Dr Sue Sutherland from the Department of Agriculture, farmer Kim Maddock, Julie Newman from Network of Concerned Farmers, Dr Ian Edwards from Ausbiotech Ltd, Steven David from Bio Farmers and Dennis Wise from Pro Farmer Australia.
Mr McRae said he was looking forward to chairing the group and exploring with them the issues associated with production, supply chain management and the marketability of GM crops in comparison with non-GM crops.
“I am also interested in working with the group as they examine such matters as liability and insurance issues raised by dealings with GMOs, and the adequacy of the legal framework that governs GMOs in the event of the adoption of GM technology,” he said.
Mr Chance said the moratorium on the general commercial use of GM crops in agriculture would remain in place in WA until all relevant issues had been addressed.
“The Gallop Government is protecting and enhancing WA’s unique lifestyle,” he said.
Minister's office: 9213 6700