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Council’s application to be designated GM Crop free denied by the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development
The State Government's amendments to the Genetically Modified (GM) Crops Management Act 2004 effectively lifted the ban on growing GM crops in South Australia (excluding Kangaroo Island).
Local Government was given a once-off opportunity to make a request to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Hon. David Basham for the GM free crop status to be reinstated, applications could only be considered on trade and marketing grounds.
As was required by the legislation, Council undertook a consultation process between 27 July and 21 August 2020 to understand the position of its community in order to determine whether a submission would be made to apply to be a GM crop free area.
The District Council of Yankalilla voted unanimously at the Council meeting held 15 September 2020 to write to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development to request for our district to remain GM crop free.
Mayor Glen Rowlands said, “Council listened to the feedback from our community with 87% of community responses wanting to remain GM free and 71% responses from Primary Produces wanting to remain GM free”.
The consultation clearly demonstrated that there was not support for GM crops with the following key themes determining Council’s submission:
- Retention of the areas ‘clean, green’ image
- Impact on marketing for certified organic farms
- Ability to expand on the trade and marketing advantages obtained by Kangaroo Island
- Reduction in scope for growth into non-GM markets
On 28 September 2020 Council wrote to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development requesting for our area to remain GM crop free based on the evidence and feedback provided during our consultation.
Mayor Glen Rowlands said, “We were surprised to hear the news, that the Minister’s final decision is that our region will not be designated as a GM crop free area despite Council’s submission to remain GM Crop Free”.
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham said, “outside of Kangaroo Island, there was no substantial evidence to justify any council area remaining GM-free”. “The Governments GM Crop Advisory Committee assessed the 11 applications and deemed there wasn’t sufficient evidence to recommend designation as an area where no GM food crops can be grown”.
The 11 councils who unsuccessfully applied to have local GM moratoriums were Adelaide Hills Council, Alexandrina Council, Barossa Council, Berri Barmera Council, City of Onkaparinga, City of Playford, District Council of Yankalilla, Mount Barker District Council, City of Tea Tree Gully, Town of Gawler and City of Victor Harbor.
Mayor Glen Rowlands said, “Council’s role in the decision-making process finished when we submitted our application to the Minister to remain GM Crop free”. “We are disappointed with the decision as the majority of our community wanted to retain the district’s reputation for producing hi-quality GM free foods”.
“Council should respect the decision of the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development therefore, I ask that any correspondence regarding the decision be directed to the Office of Hon David Basham MP, GPO Box 1671 Adelaide SA 5001”.
Read the Minister's Media Release