Indefinite extension of Tassie’s GM ban

As a means of protecting the state’s reputation as a clean food producer, Tasmania has extended indefinitely its moratorium on genetically modified crops and animals.

According to the ABC, Tasmania is the only state to have a blanket ban on GM organisms, and while the ban was due to expire in November this year, deputy premier Bryan Green said the government wanted to protect the reputation of the state’s food and agricultural exports.

"The status that it gives our state when it comes to brand is so vitally important," he said.

The moratorium will, however, continue to include exemptions for non-commercial scientific trials of GM crops, with a panel of scientists reporting any advances in the field to the government.

Poppy growers are likely to oppose the extension, with the Poppy Growers Association last year claiming that it was prepared to launch legal action if the state government refused to lift the ban.

"We're very confident that there are good grounds to challenge a refusal of the permit to grow GM poppies in Tasmania," Glynn Williams, Tasmanian president of the Poppy Growers Association said.

The state’s beekeepers, however, argued that the discontinuation of the moratorium would significantly compromise access to markets in Asia and Europe., and threatened to enforce a pollination ban if the GM moratorium was lifted.

South Australia is the only mainland state maintaining a ban on genetically modified crop production and trials, recently extending a moratorium until at least 2019.

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