Farmers applaud Labor for addressing GM issues
2.Carpenter pushes risk of GM crops
1.FARMERS APPLAUD LABOR FOR ADDRESSING GM ISSUES
Network of Concerned Farmers
Press Release, 2 September 2008
The WA Labor party today announced an increased funding of $5million to support farmers to remain GM free. The Network of Concerned Farmers (NCF) have congratulated the WA Labor Government decision claiming it shows the depth of their understanding of the GM debate and their willingness to resolve the problems.
"WA Labor has a multifaceted approach to genuinely deal with the major issues rather than the negligent policies of Liberals and Nationals which clearly ignore the problems," said Julie Newman, National Spokesperson for the Network of Concerned Farmers.
"Farmers can't afford GM crops and the risks associated with them."
The announced funding for more non GM plant biotechnology is most welcome as is the funding to assist WA food producers to market their produce as GM free. The Labor party has previously provided funding for independent health testing and have lobbied the Federal government to improve GM labelling.
The NCF claim that the risks of growing GM include health, environmental, loss of the right to replant seed, spiralling higher costs, market resistance, inability to provide a GM-free product and new corporate contracts leading to loss of farmer control over their farm businesses.
"The Liberals and Nationals just can't ignore these risks."
The NCF is appalled at the rashness of the policies of the State Liberal party and National Party claiming they have no understanding of the issue or the magnitude of the risks to the WA farming sector.
"With their 1,000ha trials, the Liberals are promoting backdoor commercial release when there is no intention and no way known to prevent contamination. They claim that commercial trials are needed to test the coexistence protocols but the coexistence protocols are actually designed to allow contamination, not prevent it. Even large scale trials will remove the GM-free choice for farmers and consumers."
"The Nationals are blindly promoting commercial release of any GM crops, including canola and wheat providing they are not sold in the food chain. This policy risks losing all of our international wheat markets as there is zero tolerance for GM material in all international wheat markets."
"If the Liberals and Nationals spent the time researching the issue more thoroughly, they would not have such negligent policies. We ask them to urgently reconsider their policies in the interests of farmers and of maintaining our markets."
Contact: Julie Newman 0427 711644 or 95250275
Network of Concerned Farmers www.non-gm-farmers.com
2.Carpenter pushes risk of GM crops
The Age, September 2 2008
West Australian Premier Alan Carpenter has used the issue of genetically modified crops to highlight what he calls the "risk" factor posed by a Liberal government.
After targeting the Liberals' support of uranium mining throughout his four-week election campaign, Mr Carpenter promised $5 million in funding to help promote WA as a GM-free state.
Mr Carpenter said the Liberals wanted to allow broadscale GM farming, a claim later denied by Opposition Leader Colin Barnett.
Labor has a moratorium in place on GM crops but allows GM trials to proceed for scientific reasons.
Mr Carpenter says the Liberals' policy of trials for cotton and canola would allow the planting of GM crops on a much broader scale.
"We don't want to see WA's $10 billion agri-food business put at risk by GM technology being forced upon us," Mr Carpenter said.
"We don't believe it's necessary, we don't believe the science is settled enough to allow it to happen, we don't believe we should be taking the risk ... the risk to our markets and the risk to ... consumers.
"The Liberal Party are proposing large-scale GM commercial trials which in effect just open the door for GM food and GM crops."
Mr Barnett accused Mr Carpenter of launching a scare campaign before Saturday's election, saying trials under a Liberal government would be confined to cotton in the north of the state.
"Our policy on GM is that we would allow GM cotton ... to be grown in the north of the state, basically the Ord River scheme, and we would like other states to do some proper scientifically based trials on GM canola," he said.
"We would not contemplate in any sense GM in other products, such as fruit and vegetables. That is not part of our policy.
"We're talking about basically fibre and an oil product."
Mr Carpenter said $2 million of Labor's proposed $5 million package would be used to market WA as GM-free, another $2 million would be used for plant research and $1 million would go towards GM food testing.
"It's similar to the uranium issue. The other states can do what the other states do. We're in Western Australia, we're very, very fortunate here that we are GM-free at this point," Mr Carpenter said.
"The Liberal Party will put that GM-free status out the window with what I think is risky, reckless policy."
Vegetable farmer Figaro Natoli of Gnangara in Perth's north said consumers wanted safe, quality food on their tables.
"If there's doubts in their mind and all this sort of stuff, then they start looking around for alternatives, which is not necessarily a good thing," Mr Natoli said.
"We have to adopt a bit of social responsibility here and .... the science is not where we want it to be at this point in time."
Farmer and anti-GM campaigner Julie Newman of Newdegate, south of Perth, said the GM food business was all about market control.
"For farmers it's a major issue because there is no ability for a non-GM farmer to provide a non-GM product to the market," Ms Newman said.
Agriculture Minister Kim Chance said Labor's government-controlled trials in WA were small - "plot-type trials" - while the Liberals talked of trials of 500 to 1,000 hectares.
"That's just not necessary to make a commercial determination about canola," Mr Chance said.