The Office for the Minister for Primary Industry, Ian Macdonald has
advised today that the Minister will be approving Genetically Modified
(GM) Canola for commercial use in NSW.
The move has been slammed by NSW Greens MP Ian Cohen.
“The GM floodgates are open and New South Wales is now to be grower
and producer of Genetically Modified Canola,” said Upper House
“Risks posed by GM crop contamination have not satisfactorily been
addressed, practicalities of market segregation issues remain unresolved and legal liability protections for non-GM farmers are not sufficient to protect NSW farmers against patent infringement actions,” Mr Cohen said.
Genetic modification allows manufacturer monsanto, producer of the herbicide roundup, to patent seed-crops.
This has led to numerous lawsuits being brought against individual landowners for copyright breech in cases where GM plants have been found growing on land owned by farmers who had no licence agreement with monsanto.
In Europe, North America and Canada, thousands upon thousands of landowners had been sued by monsanto because GM seeds (spread by wind, birds and animals or contaminated machinery) had been found growing on their property.
Invariably the landowners had to sign a confidentiality agreement as part of their settlement with monsanto preventing them from discussing their ordeals.
“The Minister’s dominant mantra of producer choice and freedom to
grow GM Canola is a one way street. Where is the non-GM producer’s
freedom from contamination by promiscuous GM-Canola strains?”
“The introduction of GM Canola into NSW is geared only to
commercially benefit a small group of powerful agribusiness
“The South Australian Government rightfully maintained the moratorium
on GM crops because it recognised the critical importance of GM-free
status in successfully marketing South Australian products. The only
winners with GM crops are the GM patent owners who licence their GM crop
strains,” said Mr Cohen.
The Minister’s approval comes a week after the Minister lambasted Ian
Cohen MLC for requesting the release of information on the GM Expert
Committee who primarily advises on the whether GM-Canola and Non-GM Canola can be sufficiently segregated.
“The public have a fundamental right to know who constitutes the
Expert Committee and whether their recommendations are free from
conflicts of interest. It is a simple matter of accountability and
“Though the Minister’s office has today signalled it is willing to
provide a list of the members of the Expert Committee, it needs to be
examined why the Minister did not wish to reveal the names of a
Committee which undertakes an extremely important statutory function.”
Mr. Macdonald’s announcement follows a similar move in Victoria in November of last year.