South Australia votes to keep GM crop ban in place
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South Australia is set to extend its ban on growing genetically modified crops until 2025, after a Bill proposed by Green members in the state government was passed by a single vote this week.
South Australia is the only mainland state in the Australia where it is currently illegal to grow GM crops. Tasmania has made a ban indefinite, reports NaturalProductsGlobal online.
The closeness of the vote reflects the politically controversial nature of the current moratorium on GM. Farmers across the state are split almost 50:50 one the issue. Many have deep concerns about becoming reliant on GM technology, while almost as many see risks in rejecting the new technology.
Green’s leader Mark Parnell said: ”There are a lot of farmers in South Australia who are nervous about the (GM) technology, and what the marketing evidence shows is that there is a price premium for not growing GM crops,” he said. The current state-wider GM ban also has the support of South Australian premier Jay Weatherill. Earlier this year he said that he refused to be pressured by the pro-GM grains industry to scrap the ban.
But regional lobby group Grain Producers SA claims the ban is restricting the growth of its industry. The group’s chairman Wade Dabinett has called this week’s vote to extend the ban an “unmitigated disaster”.