31 March 2022
With biotechnology making huge leaps in the areas of agricultural and medical research, the regulatory system must keep pace. The modernisation of Australia’s National Gene Technology Scheme will be essential to the development of new technologies, well beyond plant science.
Australia has long been at the forefront of the regulation and adoption of biotechnology innovation. Gene editing has developed new and improved crop varieties, helping farmers respond to ever-changing climate conditions and consumer demand. But the potential benefit of biotechnology extends well beyond agriculture.
There have been many major advances in biotechnology and medicine even before COVID-19 appeared. But the pandemic has put the sector ‘centre stage’ and revolutionised the development of new vaccines which has quite literally saved lives.
As science and technology evolves, so too must the legislation that enables it.
CropLife Australia has worked hard with governments to propose practical and feasible regulatory options supported by academia, the public research sector and industry including plant science, human health and animal research.
What the sector needs and is looking for are simple, logical and feasible improvements that would have a tremendously positive impact on Australian agriculture and medical research and align Australia with key international competitors such as Canada, the US and South America.
A considered, agile, future-proofed system will allow innovation to flourish and the benefits flow through to the Australian economy. To further delay modernisation of the national framework would inhibit innovation, leaving Australia behind for decades to come and drive developers to stronger markets.
The opportunities to improve the lives of all Australians through biotechnology are endless. It is up to policymakers to give innovators the regulatory landscape they need to achieve a better, brighter, more sustainable future. A considered, agile, future-proofed system will allow innovation to flourish and the benefits flow through to the Australian economy.