Repealing the GM Crops Free Areas Act will ensure that WA growers always have access to latest approved GM technology.
GM and non-GM canola has been grown side-by-side successfully and productively without creating marketing issues. The bulk grain handlers that currently segregate GM and non‑GM canola in Western Australia have confidence in their ability to segregate the two grain types throughout the entire storage, handling and transport supply chain from receival site to end user.
It is clear from the conclusions of several independent and Government commissioned reports, as well as the real‑world experience that a marketing advantage has not been gained by a GM free status. Market access by growers in WA, Victoria and New South Wales is the same as or better than market access for South Australian and Tasmanian growers. Without access to the latest technologies, South Australian and Tasmanian farmers are missing out on the agronomic, environmental and economic benefits GM crops are already bringing to WA, other mainland states and farmers across the globe.
Western Australian farmers should be given confidence that they will not lose access to the tools that make them increasingly productive and sustainable. WA’s business and grower groups have also made their views clear on the importance of farmer choice and investment certainty.
WA farmers have planted an increased amount of GM canola every year since its introduction with 1 in 3 canola farmers growing GM canola. Growers are turning to GM canola varieties in greater numbers because of impressive yields, effective weed control and the increased demand and market acceptance for the variety. The 337,527 ha of GM canola planted in Western Australia last season will result in a direct extra benefit to those WA growers of over $12 million.
Globally, GM crop technology will continue to play an essential part in assisting farmers become more productive and more environmentally sustainable. Around the world, GM crops have improved the sustainable use of pesticides, slashed CO2 emissions associated with agriculture and conserved biodiversity by preventing over 300 million acres of land from being placed into agricultural production. Western Australian farmers can easily be at the forefront of modern, sustainable farming if unnecessary barriers to innovation and investment are removed.