Australia

Council demands evidence for GM-free knockback

The state’s largest council opposes the Marshall government’s refusal to apply to keep the McLaren Valle wine region free of GM crops and reviews the findings with the GM Advisory Board to the First Minister of Industry, David Basham. We are calling for justification of the decision to make it happen.

Basham announced last Monday that Onkaparinga and 10 other SA councils had failed to bid, and the council area remains GM-free outside Kangaroo Island, where the moratorium was maintained in another deal last year. He said there was not enough evidence to justify.

“The GM Crop Advisory Board evaluated 11 applications and determined that there was not enough evidence to recommend designation as an area where GM food crops could not be grown. The committee determined that individual companies were in other mainland states. He said he could maintain the non-GM market as it happens in, “he said in a statement last week.

Fully affiliated with the state’s most populous council, Onkaparinga, the McLaren Vale Grape Wine & Tourism Association led the impetus to stay GM-free.

In a submission to the council, MGWTA risks McLaren Vale losing up to $ 20.1 million annually in crop value and $ 5.1 million annually if GM crops are grown in the region. Said.

Last week, the Onkaparinga Council labeled Basham’s decision as a “gut kick” and launched another attack this morning, requesting detailed minutes of the recent GM Advisory Board meeting where the issue was discussed.

Mayor Erin Thompson, with communications from Basham on “separation protocols” and “thresholds,” even though they were not included in Section 5A of the Law or advice from PIRSA or the Minister’s Office He also said he was surprised to find a statement in the media. Before the application is submitted.

“It needs to be clarified. The minister has not told the council no. He is a diligent and successful winemaker and viticulture in a world-class wine region that knows the business and the market better than anyone else. I’m saying no to anyone, “she says. Said.

“The council was tasked with collecting industry evidence as prescribed.

“This is because we have lost the opportunity to get the most out of the law and have not realized that McLaren Vale has its own attributes that deserve protection.”

The council also stated that the GM Advisory Board requested that:

  • Minutes from the Advisory Group on the decision-making process for Onkaparinga applications.
  • Criteria for the GM Advisory Board to evaluate the council’s application.
  • Details of the “threshold” mentioned by the Minister, such as the parameters that make up this threshold and how to set it.
  • Timeframes and foundations when both threshold and isolation protocols are introduced into the decision-making process.
  • A copy of the guidelines used by the GM Advisory Board to evaluate and determine the application. And
  • Information on the expertise and experience of the Advisory Board in trade and marketing of the wine industry.

McLaren Vale is Australia’s fifth largest wine region and the largest in the field of certified organic or biodynamic vineyards.

About 37% of the 7324ha vines in the area are certified, which is about 5% of the national average.

Thompson refuted Basham’s claim that if the region was not designated as GM-free, no rigorous evidence-based discussion was provided regarding potential changes in the costs of non-GM projects.

“Our application provided direct and concrete evidence from four McLaren Vale wineries, stating that GM-free produce is needed for continued trade. Includes trade testimony from importers, “she said.

“The immediate risk is $ 5.1 million annually in the existing import market.

“In addition, our application underscores the feedback received from the wine industry that the burden of proof is reversed when the moratorium is lifted.

“It is certified organic or biodynamic and adds significant cost and inconvenience to vine growers and winemakers who previously did not have to prove that their produce did not contain GM ingredients. It means that you will be forced to do so. “

The Adelaide Hills, Alexandrina, Barossa, Berivar Mela Council, Playford, Jancarilla, Mount Barker, Tea Tree Gully, Golar, and City of Victor Harbor councils are all local GMs in or near major wine regions I applied for an extension of the Moratorium, but all were rejected. last week.

Anne Levy, chairman of the GM Crop Advisory Board, wrote to Basham on October 16 to inform the committee of its decision.

In a letter, Mr Levy said the Commission had ruled out seven council applications at a meeting on October 9. On October 16th, we dealt with the remaining three council applications, Onkaparinga, Adelaide Hills and Barossa.

“The Commission said these three applications were stronger than those previously evaluated, but the evidence provided is a threshold for trade and marketing implications for designation as a GM food crop-free area. It was noted that the value requirements were not yet met, “the letter said.

“The Commission acknowledges recognized concerns about potential threats to trade and marketing, but as GM food crops occur in other mainland states that are not designated as non-GM food crop areas. You can maintain the non-GM market of individual companies.

“Most applications provided some case study and awareness, but if not declared non-GM, potential changes (increase or decrease) in the cost of non-GM business within their respective local council areas. No rigorous evidence-based discussion was provided regarding the GM area.

“Further feedback on individual applications can be provided on request.”

About 50 protesters gathered outside Victor Harbor’s office in Basham on Saturday to oppose the state government’s decision to reject Congress’s application to maintain a GM-free SA band.

Saturday’s “Rally for Democracy” protest was organized by the “Keep SAGM-free Coalition” and was attended by former Labor Party Primary Industry Minister Leon Bignell.

Bignell was also a member of parliament in the McLaren Vallewine region and was a strong supporter of maintaining a GM-free moratorium in South Africa during his ministerial days.

Bob Phelps of the GeneEthics Network said at a rally on Saturday that 11 councils should have acted in good faith and the state government should have respected their application, including months of community talks.

“Many fruit, vegetable and grape growers want their area to remain GM-free, but the minister only listened to the GM Crop Advisory Board, the report said. , Denied the council’s evidence that the GM-free grain, wine grapes, and food industries will continue. To be a big marketing winner, “he said.

GMOs are allowed to grow in all other mainland states, with canola and cotton being the first to be approved for cultivation in Australia.

Kangaroo Island has been designated as GM Free following a recommendation from a high-level commissioned review of the state government conducted by Professor Emeritus Kim Anderson last year.

The lifting of the ban has been found to damage the island’s grain industry. All of the canolas are exported to Japan and sold as GM-free canolas with an ethically produced single origin.

A law to lift the 16-year-old ban on genetically modified crops in SA was passed by the state legislature in May.

This spawned a process in which Congress by September 30 consulted with the local community to allow GM-free applications if it demonstrated economic interests.

Mr Basham said this morning that the GM Crop Advisory Board unanimously recommended that none of the 11 councils approve, and that the state government accepted the advice.

“The Commission has found that the market for non-GM products can be maintained as it occurs in other mainland states where GM crops are allowed,” he said.

“Major producers in mainland South Australia now have the choice of whether they want to grow GM crops not only next season but also in the future.

“Individual companies can still be marketed as GM-free, as we have seen in other parts of the country where GM products have been licensed for at least 10 years.”

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Place of originCouncil demands evidence for GM-free knockback

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