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Alliance to differentiate on GM Bill

Alliance to differentiate on GM Bill

Immediate release 28 November 2001

Today the Alliance announced it would move in Parliament for changes to proposed GE legislation. The amendments have been agreed under the Coalition Government’s party differentiation procedures.

The Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Amendment (Genetically Modified Organisms) Bill was tabled in Parliament today. It provides for strict containment conditions for field trials involving plants, secured by the Alliance within the Coalition Government’s response to the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification.

The Alliance wants the same tough rules to apply to field tests involving animals as will apply to plants. These conditions require that all material associated with tests be capable of being removed from the site or destroyed on the site, including soil.

In addition, the Alliance will try to have removed provisions that allow the moratorium to expire in two years.

Alliance MP Phillida Bunkle says the conditions ensure ERMA imposes controls on field tests that keep all test material secure. “We can be very sure that no GM material could escape from a trial involving plants. It is likely that this would involve completely enclosing field tests within a plastic tunnel house or glasshouse,” Phillida Bunkle said.

The GM Royal Commission said in its report “In light of concerns that have arisen this year in connection with horizontal gene transfer we consider that rigorous monitoring of field trials is essential and that all material associated with the trials must be removable from the site.”

“The Alliance stands behind the Commission’s view,” Phillida Bunkle said.

“The moratorium on the release of genetically modified organisms should not automatically expire in two years time.

“The Government is planning to do much more work on the economic, social and environmental impacts of GM organisms. There is every possibility that at the end of this work the really difficult question about GM safety will remain and therefore we will not be ready to undertake a release.

“The Alliance wants the moratorium to run until there is certainty that GM organisms are safe.

“The Coalition partners have been unable to agree on these matters and the Alliance will therefore promote these measures, by way of an amendment to the legislation,” Phillida Bunkle said.


ENDS

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