EDSTAR Genetics principal Dr Ian Edwards has called for a Parliamentary inquiry into the decision to fund a controversial animal feeding study on Genetically Modified (GM) canola.
The $92,000 study was approved by the former State Labor Government more than two years ago.
It is being conducted by leading Australian scientist Dr Judy Carman at the Institute of Health and Environmental Research (IHER) in Adelaide.
However, Agriculture and Food Minister Terry Redman has recently expressed concern that his Government was being kept in the dark and had minimal knowledge or details of the study’s whereabouts.
Mr Redman says it was a serious issue of public accountability.
His office has written to Dr Carman to obtain details of the study, but is so far dissatisfied with the response.
Dr Carman’s animal feeding study is now unlikely to be used as part of the GM Crops Free Areas Act 2003 review, which is likely to produce a decision when Parliament re-sits next January.
Dr Edwards was a member of Labor’s GMO Reference Group, and was extremely critical of the $92,000 feeding study when it was first approved.
“Frankly this research should never have been approved in the first place,” he said.
“But given that $92,000 worth of WA taxpayers' money has been spent, I think there should be an inquiry as to what the outcome is and I think we deserve that reply.
“It was the Labor party who oversaw the approval of the money being spent and the Labor Cabinet, and they are the ones I see who would need to be held accountable, not our current Minister.”
Dr Edwards said he was concerned Mr Redman had not been provided with any documentation on the study’s progress or its protocols.
“Quite honestly I think we have a right, as WA taxpayers and growers, to demand that there be a response from Dr Carman about where these Government funds are, and the WA taxpayer money that has been sent into oblivion,” he said.