1.Modify minds about GM
2.And just when you thought the GM debate couldn't get any sillier...
EXTRACTS: VICTORIANS are vastly uneducated and uninformed about gene technology issues and need a major campaign to bring them up to speed.
A panel of three senior Victorian experts and bureaucrats... recommended state and federal governments fund a major advertising campaign. (item 1)
1.Modify minds about GM
The Age, December 22 2006
VICTORIANS are vastly uneducated and uninformed about gene technology issues and need a major campaign to bring them up to speed, according to a report tabled in State Parliament this week.
The report was tabled in the same week The Age revealed that genetically modified wheat could be growing in Victoria for the first time within six months.
The State Government's Department of Primary Industries has applied to grow up to 30 lines of GM wheat at two sites, near Horsham and Mildura.
The wheat at the centre of the proposal would be genetically modified to cope with severe drought. But a statutory review of the existing Gene Technology Act that was tabled on Tuesday warned such projects face stiff opposition from an ignorant population. "There are glaring deficiencies of information and education in the Australian community on gene technology," the report said. "This is a significant problem."
A panel of three senior Victorian experts and bureaucrats - former GHS Victoria boss Professor Bob Williamson, Equal Opportunity Commission chief executive Dr Diane Sisely, and Victoria's former Crown Counsel, Professor Peter Sallmann ”” recommended state and federal governments fund a major advertising campaign.
2.Network of Concerned Farmers
... And just when you thought the GM debate couldn't get any sillier...
In Western Australia, pro-GM lobby groups are pushing for the lifting of the moratoria to allow the commercial growing of GM wheat!
There are a few problems that they are forgetting to consider:
- There is no market for GM wheat or GM contaminated wheat. Wheat is a food consumers are expected to eat directly, not indirectly as food for stock or as oil and it will be required to be labelled as GM.
- No country in the world is growing GM wheat commercially. Even US and Canada refused to allow GM wheat commercialisation due to the economic risk.
- If GM wheat is released commercially, all farmers will be expected to market as GM unless they participate in a rigorous identity preservation system to prove there has been no chance of GM contamination and no GM in the final product. Any I.P. system is considered price prohibitive if there is no tolerance of GM allowed.
- There is no tolerance of GM wheat in non-GM wheat.
- There is no workable field test available to ensure there is no GM wheat in non-GM wheat. There is no advanced test that does not involve destroying the grain in the process of testing.
- Anybody pushing for lifting of the moratoria claiming a potential economic benefit could be classified as either lying, negligent or plain stupid. Any government would be negligent if they ignored their legislated role to assess economics by allowing GM wheat to be commercialised.
According to the Australian Wheat Board policy (*here)
At present there is a clear market signal from international and domestic customers that strong reservations exist concerning GM wheat. None of AWB’s National Pool customers are prepared at present to purchase GM wheat. Based on AWB Group’s experience in managing the National Pool we believe there is currently insufficient capability within the supply chain to ensure complete segregation of GM and non-GM grains. Due to this lack of capability, the introduction of GM wheat in Australia could jeopardise many of our existing export markets. AWB believes that GM wheat should not be released commercially in Australia until market preferences change and/or supply chain technologies and protocols are developed that will ensure that customer requirements can be met."
Why the pressure? Because a local company has developed what they claim is salt tolerant wheat. The preliminary trial results showed better performance in 180 millisemens per metre, however conventional non-GM wheat performed better in 67 millesemens per metre.
Julie Newman (08) 98711562