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Fast-tracked GE process ignores farmers

Fast-tracked GE process ignores farmers

The tiny window of opportunity given to farmers and other members of the public to make submissions on a key GE issue is an indication that the Government's mind is already made up, Green Agriculture Spokesperson Ian Ewen-Street said today.

"They've been given just ten working days to make submissions on how conditional release of GE organisms into the farming ecosystem may assist in achieving co-existence between GE and non-GE crops," said Mr Ewen-Street.

"MAF - and the Minister of Agriculture - know very well that this is the busiest time of the year for arable farmers and horticulturalists. They are literally knee-deep in the fields planting their crops.

"How on earth are they expected to make a substantive submission on the complex issues surrounding 'conditional' GE release at such a time? On their 'days off,' perhaps?

"In a landmark ruling in 1992, the Court of Appeal said that 'consultation must be allowed sufficient time, and genuine effort must be made. It is to be a reality, not a charade.'

"The unseemly haste with which MAF is rushing through this supposed 'consultation' process suggests that the Government has already made its mind up over conditional release and that the opinions of farmers - the very people whose livelihoods are at stake - are irrelevant.

"Six months is a much more realistic timeframe for consultation to take place," said Ian Ewen-Street. "For farmers to be effectively shut-out makes the process a charade."

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