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Farmers Cautiously Optimistic about HSNO Changes

Farmers Cautiously Optimistic about HSNO Changes

Farmers are cautiously optimistic about the changes to the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 covering genetic modification announced today, but the devil will be in the detail according to Federated Farmers National Board Member Neil Barton.

"The Federation supports the Government's commitment to case by case assessment. This is exactly what the Federation submitted to the Royal Commission on GM and the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA), said Mr Barton.

"To quote the Royal Commission, there is nothing 'so radically different in genetic modification as to require new or special remedies', therefore it is vital that scientific innovation is not stifled by extreme obstacles. To this end the Federation will monitor the activities of the Bioethics Council.

"The Federation sees the Government's intention to change legislation to enable a strict liability regime and civil penalties for breeches of ERMA conditions as unnecessary, but recognise this is a sensible approach to the issue of liability.

"The Government's general legislative and regulatory regime should allow the implementation of the Royal Commission's recommendation and its desire to proceed with appropriate caution while preserving opportunities."

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