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Greater choice for Central Wheatbelt farmers after GM Act repealed

For more information, contact Mia Davies (Deputy Leader | Member for Central Wheatbelt).

Member for Central Wheatbelt Mia Davies MLA has hailed the repeal of the Genetically Modified Crops Free Areas Act 2003 as a major win for Central Wheatbelt grain growers.

Ms Davies and The Nationals WA supported the repeal of the current Act, finalised in State Parliament last week, saying they strongly supported the farm businesses having the right to use GM technology on their own land.

“The Nationals WA are confident the grains industry has the protocols and processes in place to enable growers to deliver GM and non-GM canola to meet market requirements,” Ms Davies said.

“WA Labor are vehemently opposed to GM technology and it’s clear they don’t understand the importance of GM as an agronomic tool, and don’t believe WA growers should have the right to choose what crops to grow in their production system.”

Nationals MP Hon Terry Redman allowed the commercial production of GM canola for the first time in 2010, following on from successful on-farm trials in the 2009 season.

As Minister for Agriculture at the time, he issued an exemption order that allowed GM canola to be grown across the State.

“There is keen support for GM technology, as evidenced by the widespread uptake of GM canola by WA farmers, including those throughout the Central Wheatbelt electorate, with about one third of WA canola crops being GM canola in 2016,” Ms Davies said.

“WA farmers are renowned as some of the most innovative and progressive producers in the world and can see the clear agronomic and environmental benefits of GM technology.”

Member for the Agricultural Region Hon Martin Aldridge MLC said research indicated GM technology was linked to increased productivity, profitability and competiveness in the grains sector.

“The repeal of the Act will afford Central Wheatbelt farmers greater certainty and will enable them to remain competitive in an ever-changing industry landscape,” Mr Aldridge said.

“This is also a great outcome for companies looking to invest into agricultural research and will give them greater confidence when considering potential investments.

“If we can address some of the challenges we have like frost, and salinity, through GM technology then our agricultural sector could continue to improve its productivity.”

For media enquiries please contact Mia Davies on 08 9041 1702 (Merredin office), 08 9622 2871 (Northam office) or email mia.davies@mp.wa.gov.au.