The State government’s move to roll over the current moratorium on genetically-engineered (GE) food crops and animals for a further five years is welcome, but falls short of the permanent ban needed to secure ongoing market certainty, Greens Leader and Primary Industries spokesperson Kim Booth MP said today.
“As an island state Tasmania has enviable biosecurity advantages which we can leverage to secure national and international food markets, which are experiencing a growing demand for genuine GE-free produce,” Mr Booth said.
“While it is welcome to see the Liberal government introduce legislation to roll over the current moratorium for a further five years, it does not go far enough.”
“An expiry date of November 2019 is preferable to one of November this year, but all an expiry date does is lock in uncertainty for our food crop producers, honey producers, conventional GE-free farmers and organic farmers.”
“The Greens’ preferred position is to see the five year moratorium become an indefinite ban to provide long term investment, employment and marketing of our GE-free status for our producers and consumers.”
“A public review and submission process was undertaken in 2013 in the lead up to the moratorium’s current expiry date of November this year, which attracted 160 submissions. The Review Report stated that ‘significant industry sectors such as beef, honey, fruit, organics, food tourism and wine all perceive negative market impacts or challenges if the current policy is altered’.”
“Given the GE-free moratorium has been in place for well over a decade, and during that time has been rolled over from expiry date to expiry date, it is time for Tasmania to invest in its long-term Brand, its comparative and competitive advantage, and declare that we are ‘clean, green and GE-free’ for good,” Mr Booth said.