WA rejects GM study

05 Nov, 2009 03:10 PM

THE State Government has ruled out using vital research from a critical animal feeding trial as part of its current review of the Genetically Modified Crops Free Areas Act 2003.

The review will determine if the moratoria on GM canola in WA will be lifted to allow it to be grown commercially next season and possibly beyond.

The controversial animal feeding trial, that has been subsidised by taxpayers and was approved by the previous State Government in June 2007, continues to be shrouded in secrecy.

A game of cloak and dagger is now being played out between the State Government and the scientist responsible for the work.

Former Agriculture Minister Kim Chance commissioned leading Australian scientist, Dr Judy Carman to conduct the $92,000 feeding study through the Institute of Health and Environmental Research (IHER), where she is based in Adelaide.

However, despite the Labor Party being dumped from office, details are still being kept from the new Government.

Current Agriculture and Food Minister Terry Redman is concerned his State Liberal-National Government has been kept in the dark and has minimal knowledge or details of the study’s whereabouts.

Mr Redman spoke about the issue to Farm Weekly last week, as the first load of GM canola was being delivered to the CBH Metro Grains Centre in Forrestfield; harvested from this year’s large scale trials.

He said the $92,000 study presented a serious issue of public accountability.

Mr Redman said he had written to Dr Carman recently, and three times in the past year, to obtain details of the study.

However, he is dissatisfied with the response he has received so far.

His office confirmed the funding had been approved in June 2007 and money had been paid for the work to go ahead.

The normal practice for trial work paid for with public funding is for the Minister and his Department to be kept informed of progress, even if it is communicated through confidential progress reports.

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Dr Rosemary Stanton
5/11/2009 9:45:54 AM, on Farm Weekly

I cannot understand why any government would not be prepared to take note of findings from an independent and highly respected scientist. Independent trials of GM crops are few and far between. The results of the WA trials could be good or bad for GM crops, but either way, we need to know their findings. What has the government got to fear?
Julie Newman
5/11/2009 12:11:46 PM, on Farm Weekly

What is the Minister so frightened of? Judy has made it very clear that the studies are well under way and like every study of this kind, there are numerous red tape hurdles to jump before starting the tests. Interesting that every attempt has been made by the GM industry to stop these tests being done, including complaints by well known pro-GM activists to the research institute that was originally going to be the place the tests were going to be done, resulting in these facilities being denied. An investment of $92,000 may seem a lot but on the other hand, we have the GM industry originally complaining that the money granted was insufficient to do studies concerned.
5/11/2009 5:18:35 PM, on Farm Weekly

The fact that the government has already decided that they want to go ahead with GM cropping regardless of the results of this feeding trial shows just how biased it is towards GM and how little they are concerned with the truth. Consumers, markets, health workers, scientists and political groups have all voiced their concerns regarding the trials. The response to the GM moratorium review is now available for public viewing and it confirms the level of opposition to the idea of WA becoming a GM state. Of course we can now see the review as mere lip service as the government have clearly made their decision...I think they may need to change their latest ad campaign to "Buy West, Eat GM".
no joke
8/11/2009 11:51:55 PM, on Farm Weekly

Like your comment Hebe - where is the response to the GM moratorium review available? I would like to see it. Most farmers are not in favour of GM; those that are are just misinformed and don't have the right knowledge to fix things with out GM. Not that GM fixes anything, it generally makes it worse. I agree our state govt, esp. the ag minister, just isn't interested in listening to any reason. There must be a whole other agenda going on that us small people don't know about.
Merri Bee
17/11/2009 9:03:17 AM, on Farm Weekly

Politicians have no right to ask for a scientist's research protocols or for "progress reports" which are likely then to be used as political footballs. The GM industry has been scathing and defamatory of scientists (including Dr Arpad Pusztai and Dr Irina Ermakova, Dr Mae Won Ho) who have in the past released information from their studies in the public interest, before passing it through the full publishing / peer review process.
michelle denise
17/11/2009 6:07:44 PM, on Farm Weekly

This study is only the tip of the iceberg. Studies are appearing daily as to the dangers of GM and the stuff they spray on it. If we are doomed to have GM at least help get it labelled so we can avoid it for a while till everyone wakes up or elects a new government. Send your URGENT submissions to the government’s food labelling review close this Friday 20 Nov. We all have a right to know what we’re eating. That’s why over 30,000 people signed the ‘Our Right to Know’ petition calling on the government to label genetically engineered (GE) foods. On October 23, the federal government finally announced it would review food labelling laws in Australia and promised to take GE ingredients into consideration. Take action now by emailing a quick submission to FoodLabellingReview@health.gov.au and copy in the Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Mark Butler: mark.butler.mp@aph.gov.au.


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