Today’s announcement of the interim outcomes of the 2016 Technical Review of the Gene Technology Regulations is welcomed by the plant science industry.

Mr Matthew Cossey, Chief Executive Officer of CropLife Australia, said “clarifying which of the plant breeding innovations are subject to interim regulation provides some level of certainty for researchers and industry and will enable innovative agricultural tools to be made available to Australia’s farmers in a more timely manner”.

“While it was the plant science and agricultural sectors’ clear preference to have a purely scientific and technical basis for regulation of breeding innovations based on the outcomes they produce rather than the breeding process, the plant science industry supports this interim measure recognising the constraints of the policy settings under which this review was conducted,” said Mr Cossey.

Another review currently underway, the 2017 Review of the National Gene Technology Regulatory Scheme, commenced in July this year and provides the forum through which the policy settings that govern the regulation of gene technology in Australia can be modernised and ensure it operates on a basis of scientific integrity.

“CropLife commends Dr Raj Bhula, the Gene Technology Regulator, her team and the Government for the professional and efficient manner in which the review of the Regulations was undertaken. This is a conservative and reasonable step towards regulating products developed using plant breeding innovations based on the characteristics of the final product,” said Mr Cossey.

“While the scheme has provided one of the most robust and independent, science-based regulatory systems in the world for established techniques of genetic modification, gene technology has evolved and the scheme no longer provides regulatory clarity for the continuum of breeding innovations and applications that exist today” Mr Cossey concluded.

CropLife’s submissions to the 2016 Technical Review of the Gene Technology Regulations and the 2017 Review of the National Gene Technology Regulatory Scheme can be downloaded from the CropLife website: www.croplife.org.au