At the start of 2020 the South Australia Government passed legislation to lift the freeze on Genetically Modified (GM) crops to allow GM crops to be grown on mainland South Australia under changes to the Genetically Modified Crops Management Act 2004.
GM crops are defined, by Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA), as ‘plants used in agriculture that have had their DNA modified through gene technology’ and may be resistance to certain pests, diseases or herbicides, are tolerant to particular environmental conditions or produce increased nutrients.
While the freeze will remain in place indefinitely on Kangaroo Island, in order for it to remain on mainland SA individual councils are required to apply to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development to retain a GM free status.
“Given there is only one opportunity to remain GM free, Council is interested in hearing from the community, primary producers and local food processors or manufacturers about the potential impact of GM crops in our region and if there is support to remain GM crop free,” said Mayor Bim Lange.
“Public input will help us to determine whether to prepare an application for The Barossa Council area to be designated as a ‘Non-GM crop area’.”
While Council understand there may be strong views regarding the potential health and environmental impacts of GM crops, the Minister has highlighted that only potential trade and marketing impacts will be considered in a council’s application to retain a GM free status, with the final decision to grant such status being at the discretion of the Minister.
Councils are required to make an application to the Minister by 30 September 2020.
Interested individuals, businesses and industry groups are encouraged to share their views via a short online survey any time from 29 July – 19 August at yoursay.barossa.sa.gov.au