In a significant boost for local producers and exporters, Tasmania’s moratorium on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) will be extended for another 10 years.
Tasmania’s GMO-free status is an important part of the Tasmanian brand, offering a marketing advantage for our high quality, high value primary industries and is a key component in the Hodgman majority Liberal Government’s goal to grow the annual value of our agricultural sector to $10 billion by 2050.
We know our valuable export markets actively seek to purchase products certified as GMO-free, with some of these products commanding a price premium. For example, some Tasmanian beef producers who supply Greenhams are estimated to receive an additional $125 per animal over and above conventional market prices with our GMO-free status being a significant factor in achieving this.
Extending the moratorium for a decade provides certainty for the producers and businesses that rely on the state’s GMO-free status to continue to invest, employ staff and further develop markets.
Tasmania’s current moratorium was set to expire in November this year. A Bill to amend the Genetically Modified Organisms Control Act will soon be tabled in the Tasmanian Parliament.
The Tasmanian Gene Technology Policy and associated Gene Technology Guidelines, which provide the necessary detail on how the moratorium will be implemented, will also be updated.
There will continue to be regular reviews of developments in gene technology, markets and consumer sentiment, which can trigger a review of the Policy earlier should developments warrant it.
The decision to extend the moratorium follows a comprehensive review carried out by the Department of Primary Industries, which received 76 submissions, with an overwhelming number of respondents in favour of extending the moratorium.
The review found the benefits of maintaining the GMO moratorium in Tasmania still greatly outweighed the risks or any benefits from ending the moratorium.
Since 2001, Tasmania has regulated a moratorium on GMOs for ‘marketing purposes’. Other aspects of gene technology are regulated by the Commonwealth, including human health, safety and environmental impacts.
For more information on GMOs in Tasmania go to the DPIPWE website: www.dpipwe.tas.gov.au