A GMO-free future for Tasmania

Media Statement, Tasmanian Government

9 January 2014

The Government plans to continue a ban on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) for food crops and animals to maintain the integrity of Tasmania’s brand and maximise future marketing opportunities.

The Deputy Premier Bryan Green said the Government’s position was to keep an indefinite moratorium on the release of commercial GMOs.

“There will be no end date specified for the moratorium to provide a positive incentive for Tasmanian businesses to invest in marketing and brand development to maximise potential GMO-free opportunities.

Mr Green said he was concerned gene technology could impact on Tasmania’s ability to market food domestically and internationally.

“Tasmania’s island status and our biosecurity system mean that our food and agricultural industries are well-placed to take advantage of the State’s GMO-free status.

“The roll out of major irrigation projects around Tasmania is also part of the Government’s vision to significantly increase agricultural production so we become a major supplier of Australia’s premium food products.

Mr Green said the Government supported the use GMOs in pharmaceutical poppies not for use as food or feed.

“The Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment together with the Department of Economic Development will work with the poppy industry to manage any potential contamination and market risks from non-food GMO pharmaceutical poppies.

“All other genetically modified plants and animals will remain prohibited, except for gene technology used in contained research for human medicines or therapeutics, closed loop industrial processes or animal feeds with non-viable GMO material.

Mr Green said the Government recognised that advancements in gene technology mean that at some point in the future there may be a compelling case to consider the introduction of GMOs into Tasmania.

“These triggers could include new GMOs that provide health or other benefits, increased consumer acceptance in important markets, or technologies that provide positive benefits to particular primary industry sectors and Tasmania as a whole.

“The Government is supportive of research into GMOs in Tasmania in contained facilities and controlled trials.

“To be responsive to any new opportunities, the Government departments together with key stakeholders and the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture will closely monitor developments in gene technology and report annually to the Minister.”

Mr Green reaffirmed the Government’s position to maintain the ban which has been in place since 2001, following a review and public submissions on the GMO moratorium.

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