GMO news related to Australia

29.05.2023 |

Australia: An application to field trial GM perennial ryegrass

Perennial ryegrass win!

An application to field trial GM perennial ryegrass as 'more nutritious' animal feed was withdrawn. GeneEthics had told the OGTR the trial could not be contained and more weeds would result. Grown as a pasture and lawn grass the plant is also an aggressive, invasive weed that would spread more widely. If approved, we expected more weedicides would be sprayed, adding to their $5 billion annual cost.

21.02.2022 |

Australia's revolving door: Former GMO regulator gets job with GMO industry lobby group

Former gene tech regulator Dr Joe Smith is now chair of the Agricultural Biotechnology Council of Australia (ABCA)

Australia's revolving door allows government ex-regulators, officials and MPs to serve the industries they once vetted as public servants. Dr Joe Smith has been appointed chair of the Agricultural Biotechnology Council of Australia (ABCA), which CropLife, the National Farmers Federation (NFF) and AusBiotech founded a decade ago to promote the agricultural biotech and chemical industries.

ABCA describes its new chair, Joe Smith, as "former national Gene Technology Regulator, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority and Director of the Therapeutic Goods Administration Laboratories".

30.11.2021 |

Take action | GMO? Soon you won't know

Our food regulator Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is proposing dangerous changes to our food regulations. These would allow a wide range of new genetically modified (GM) foods into our food chain - with no regulation and no labelling. This could pose potential health risks and would seriously undermine our right to know how our food is produced.

These would include meat and milk from some genetically modified animals and substances like vanilla and stevia produced by genetically modified microbes in factory vats.

The companies that gave us Agent Orange, paraquat, RoundUp and other toxins would be allowed to self-assess the safety and hazards of these radical new foods and ingredients, and to sell them without regulation or labelling.

03.03.2021 |

Australia: New South Wales ag minister sacrifices GMO discretion

By relinquishing the state's reserve powers to say 'no' to a GM crop on marketing grounds, minister delivers control to central government

In Australia the New South Wales (NSW) state agriculture minister Adam Marshall claims he will lift the moratorium on genetically modified (GM) crops in July.

There has been a slew of bogus headlines about the move, with claims that it will deliver "multi-billion-dollar" rewards to the agriculture industry.

However, as Bob Phelps, executive director of GeneEthics, pointed out in a press release, there is no GMO ban in NSW. Roundup Ready GM cotton has been grown there since 2000 and Roundup Ready GM canola since 2010.

02.03.2021 |

NSW organic farmers call for more protection as state lifts ban on GM crops

Representatives say regulators need to ensure there is no contamination from windblown seeds and pollen from genetically modified produce

Organic farming representatives say a decision by the New South Wales government to lift a ban on genetically modified crops will hurt its thriving industry.

NSW agriculture minister Adam Marshall announced Tuesday the state’s 18-year moratorium on GM crops would be lifted on 1 July.

The state’s farming lobby group, NSW Farmers, said it welcomed the move because the technology could be used to improve drought and frost tolerance, but cautioned that organic growers would need to be protected.

The NSW announcement means Tasmania will be the only state with a moratorium on growing GM crops.

02.11.2020 |

GM-free applications from 11 councils rejected by South Australian Government

The South Australia Government has rejected 11 council applications to maintain a genetically modified (GM) crop ban in their area.

The decision means Kangaroo Island will be the only part of South Australia where GM crops cannot be grown.

In April this year, South Australia lifted its 16-year moratorium on GM crops across the mainland, but local councils were given six months to apply to be designated a GM crop cultivation-free area.

It was the result of a compromise the Liberal Government made with Labor after the legislation reached a stalemate in State Parliament.

For the councils to remain GM-free they had to demonstrate the policy provided an economic benefit to the region.

It could not include matters of human health or environmental impacts, as those are managed under Commonwealth legislation.

08.06.2020 |

Seed savers across Australia are supporting their communities during the coronavirus pandemic

When COVID-19 panic-buying caused a national run on commercial seedlings, a movement of backyard "seed savers" sprang into action to help — and some are now looking to establish greater stocks, in case they are needed again.

Seed savers networks exist throughout Australia and the world — and are often comprised of urban farmers, and balcony and backyard growers.

Their mission is to create a "living bank" of seeds, genetically wired to thrive in particular conditions, and to reduce the need to buy seeds at all, by preserving open-pollinated and heritage varieties that will produce identical plants year-on-year.

In contrast, commercial seedlings are typically not bred to reproduce.

14.03.2020 |

Australia: Genetically modified milk?!

An Australian company has bred dairy cows from ‘gene edited’ bulls whose genomes have since been found to unintentionally contain bacterial DNA. The US Food and Drug Administration say this demonstrates the risks posed by these techniques and why they need to be regulated.

However, in Australia the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator is allowing a number of these techniques to be used with no regulation at all. And our food regulator Food Standards Australia New Zealand has proposed regulatory changes that mean milk from these cows could enter our supermarkets with no safety assessment or labelling.

14.03.2020 |

Australia's GM hornless cows and the science experiment that went wrong

Mutants or miracles?

They were the genetically modified cows that would change the dairy industry forever, but then it all went wrong and the experiment ended up in an Australian paddock.


Australia’s GM cows

This paddock in country Victoria could be just like any other. Surrounded by lush grass, it’s lined with trees and a wire fence.

There’s one key difference — what’s inside it is considered a “biological hazard” and is under quarantine.

30.11.2019 |

Australian farmer sues over claims Roundup caused his cancer

Moama farmer Ross Wild started using the popular weedkiller Roundup on his oat, barley and wheat crops when it first became available in Australia in 1976.

“There was nothing on the drums to tell you it was a poison,” Mr Wild says. “I remember seeing ads that said you could drink the stuff.”

Mr Wild recalls being saturated with Roundup in his old cabin-less tractor: “It was like a mist all over you.”

And then in March 2018, he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.