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  • Writer's pictureHannah Phillips

GM Crop Moratorium Extended to 2025 in SA

Genetically modified (GM) crops are not likely to be seen in South Australia until at least 2025, following a 6-year extension of the state-wide moratorium, which was due to end in late 2019.

The surprise Greens motion was passed in the Upper House by just one vote, and is also expected to pass the Lower House before the end of the year.

Member for Flinders Peter Treloar told Sarah on the Regional Roundup about the proposal last week.

As Mr Treloar mentioned, the Liberal party are keen to review the moratorium if elected next year, however did not confirm whether they would remove it all together.

Premier Jay Weatherill is a strong supporter of the moratorium, aligning with Greens' position on the issue.

Mark Parnell MLC, Greens SA Parliamentary Leader commented on the extension saying: “I’m delighted that with the support of the Labor Government, we can secure the moratorium for an additional six years."

“The passage of my Bill means that any decision to lift the moratorium before 1st September 2025 will require the support of both houses of Parliament," he said.

"Global consumer demand for non-GM foods is increasing and South Australia's clean and green image provides SA farmers and businesses with a lucrative marketing and price advantage."

However not everyone agrees, with Chairman of Grain Producers SA and Parilla Farmer, Wade Dabinett, expressing his views on Flow FM.

Describing the situation as a "disaster", Mr Dabinett said the moratorium is not justified and is holding back the state's agricultural industry.

"Right across the ag sector, everyone's questioning why do we have this, if when we look at Victoria, NSW, WA - they've been growing GM crops for 10 years.

"It's really disappointing they're doing it without any public consultation and without coming up with the work that says 'this has been a benefit to our state'.

"There's been absolutely no evidence to show we should continue [the moratorium]," he said.

As a key voice for SA's grains sector, Mr Dabinett expressed his frustration at the ban on GM crops saying: "South Australia is the laughing stock of the grains industry and we are a nanny state - we do so many things well, but this is just one absolute blunder".

When asked what a GM cropping industry would mean for SA, Mr Dabinett said it could lead to an increase in productivity in the industry.

He quoted Minister for Agriculture, Leon Bignell, saying: "[He] has suggested that there's a 7% increase in productivity for grain producers if we take on GM crops.

"We haven't had a 7% increase to productivity since no till, so I find it very bizarre that if that is known [7%] is the increase, where are they showing it's being offset to benefit the state somewhere else?"

Flow FM will continue to follow the story.

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