Boosting Tasmania’s GMO free brand

Guy Barnett,Minister for Primary Industries and Water

Tasmania’s moratorium on GMOs took another step forward today with the tabling in Parliament of the Genetically Modified Organisms Control Bill 2019.

The Bill provides a ten-year extension to the moratorium on GMOs in Tasmanian to strengthen our brand and offer a marketing advantage for our primary industries.

In a further boost for exporters that rely on our GMO-free status to access premium markets, the Government will also regulate the use of SDN-1 modified organisms in Tasmania.

This will maintain the status quo and provide a clear and consistent message in the market place for those Tasmanian businesses and industries that rely on Tasmania’s GMO-free status.

From October 2019, under the National Gene Technology Scheme, organisms modified using a gene editing technique known as SDN-1 will no longer be regulated as GMOs on the basis that organisms modified using this technique pose the same risk as, and are indistinguishable from, organisms carrying naturally-occurring mutations.

This national decision does not prevent Tasmania having a moratorium on GMOs, however it may create issues for businesses that export to markets where SDN-1 modified organisms continue to be considered or regulated as GMOs.

In consultation with stakeholders, a Regulation will be made under the Gene Technology (Tasmania) Act 2012, to ensure that SDN-1 modified organisms are regulated as GMOs in the Tasmanian agri-food sector for marketing purposes.

We are also committed to working with farmers, exporters and industry to address any potential market or brand implications if they arise.

Tasmania’s GMO-free status 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.

The updated Tasmanian Gene Technology Policy and Guidelines, which provide the necessary detail on how the moratorium will be implemented, were also released today, and are available from the DPIPWE website:

/Public Release. View in full here.