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Farmer Protection GM inquiry fails GM-free farmers and consumers

Media Release

The report delivered by the parliamentary committee’s inquiry into mechanisms for compensation for non-GM farmers has disappointed consumers and GM-free farmers alike.

“While we are grateful for the opportunity to have this inquiry we are dissatisfied by its findings and find it astonishing that there are no recommendations at the end of this process” says Janet Grogan, FOODwatch representative and principal petitioner.

“Our primary reason for creating this petition and call for farmer protection legislation is because we are concerned by the potential loss of access to GM-free food grown here in WA due to repeated events of GM contamination.”

“The committee finds minimal evidence of systemic contamination by GMOs in WA”, but who is looking? There have been many GM contamination events in WA since the dismal GM canola trials of 2009 when, despite best practice and intensive monitoring, there were 11 contamination events at just 19 sites.”

“We know anecdotally that farmers are experiencing GM contamination problems, but are wary of speaking publicly because of the very findings which the committee has made concerning the impacts these problems have in small rural communities”.

“It is unfair that the committee is suggesting that the GM-free farmer now carries additional responsibility to deal with potential GM contamination events by increasing insurance cover, which comes with its own risks”.

“Common Law has already failed to deal with GM contamination so it is unreasonable to believe that it can be used adequately again. The report actually concedes that “the use of Common Law may be inadequate.”

“Here the GM sector of WA’s grain industry has seen its share in the local market fall for the past three years. GM canola now accounts for less than 20% of all canola, and less than 3% of all grain grown in WA, and yet appears to take no responsibility to control contamination.”

“This report should have come with recommendations to shift the onus of mitigating GM contamination onto the GM growers, as was suggested in our submission. The majority of people want the choice to buy GM-free food, but if our farmers are not protected they may not be able to provide it.“

You can see the report here.

See page 5 of the Canola Variety Sowing Guide for canola variety table.

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  1. David Bruce

    Big Pharma and Big Ag control our diet and the sickness industry, so it was very refreshing to read this:

    animal fats are good for our health
    A low-carb diet is most effective for weight loss
    processed and high-carbohydrate foods perpetuate the worst state of health human history has ever seen!

  2. pierre wilkinson

    the laws are skewed in favour of GM crops, so follow the money and see who gains from this situation

  3. Kyran

    GM crops are yet another example of a symptom being under scrutiny, whilst the condition is ignored. It’s a rather basic premise really. If we destroy the natural food system at its base, we will ultimately destroy the entire system.

    “More than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered, the analysis found. The rate of extinction is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles. The total mass of insects is falling by a precipitous 2.5% a year, according to the best data available, suggesting they could vanish within a century.”

    “The [insect] trends confirm that the sixth major extinction event is profoundly impacting [on] life forms on our planet.
    “Unless we change our ways of producing food, insects as a whole will go down the path of extinction in a few decades,” they write. “The repercussions this will have for the planet’s ecosystems are catastrophic to say the least.”

    “The main cause of the decline is agricultural intensification,” Sánchez-Bayo said. “That means the elimination of all trees and shrubs that normally surround the fields, so there are plain, bare fields that are treated with synthetic fertilisers and pesticides.” He said the demise of insects appears to have started at the dawn of the 20th century, accelerated during the 1950s and 1960s and reached “alarming proportions” over the last two decades.
    He thinks new classes of insecticides introduced in the last 20 years, including neonicotinoids and fipronil, have been particularly damaging as they are used routinely and persist in the environment: “They sterilise the soil, killing all the grubs.”

    From the same news source, there is also a rather dire acknowledgement that this has already gone too far to be rectified.

    Thankfully, our youth are not only mobilising, but demonstrating a much better understanding of networking and mobilising.

    “Young people were, and still are, we’re told, disconnected from nature, staring at screens when they should be out in the wild. But what I hadn’t predicted back then is that it is these screens that are now enabling our children to join forces to save the natural world. The rise of new technology – especially social media – has allowed a new generation to connect with those who share their interests in a way that I never could have believed possible when I wrote Natural Childhood. As one young ornithologist recently told me: “I thought I was the only birder at my school, but on Facebook I found half a dozen others in my local area”.”

    And then there was Greta Thunberg. Her actions inspired her cohorts and enlivened their parents, carers and other concerned citizenry. It can come as no surprise that our politicians did no more than confirm they are not just a small part of the problem, they are a major impediment.

    “Veteran climate campaigners are astonished by what has been achieved in such a short time. “The movement that Greta launched is one of the most hopeful things in my 30 years of working on the climate question. It throws the generational challenge of global warming into its sharpest relief, and challenges adults to prove they are, actually, adults. So many thanks to all the young people who are stepping up,” said Bill McKibben, the founder of”

    “Australia was one of the first countries to mobilise. Last November, organisers estimate 15,000 students went on strike. Last Friday, students lobbied outside the offices of the opposition party. On 1 March, they will target the federal treasurer’s office. Two weeks later, they will join the global strike.”

    ““For the moment, the government has reacted in a very paternalistic way. They say that it’s a good sign that the youth is demonstrating for its future but they don’t really do anything about it,” said Thomas Bruchez, a 20-year-old student at the University of Geneva. In two weeks, he said the organisers will prepare for the next nationwide strike, when they will consider how to involve workers and try to define more precise claims, such as free public transport financed by highly progressive taxes.”

    “Until now 75% of the participants have been schoolchildren but increasing numbers of university students are joining. Luisa Neubauer, a 22-year-old, was among those invited to talk to senior cabinet officials. She told the German minister of economy that he was part of the problem because he was working for industry, rather than for people or the planet.
    “What we need our politicians and our government to understand is that everything they do today comes at a price for future generations,” she said. “We are not doing this for fun, but because we don’t have a choice”.”

    It is all but crystal clear that the current government is incapable of action on anything other than their own vested interests. The action that will now be required will be a full and frank analysis of everything, from our ‘food chain’ to our economy, with the likely necessity being the banning of whole industries. It’s an interesting point though, isn’t it? Our kids, who we regularly complain about, are up and running with little support from other groups. If the environment is THE issue, shouldn’t we all be out and about on Thursday, 15th?

    “We won’t be alone. Tens of thousands of students across Australia and around the world will join us. If you’re an adult, we hope you’ll take the day off in solidarity with us too. There has never been a more urgent time to demand the climate action we all deserve.”

    Sign-up for a March 15 #ClimateStrike near you today.*

    Given the propensity of this government to ignore the most obvious of facts and the ‘hamstringing’ of unions and other groups by rules and regulations our politicians would have no chance of adhering to, it is unlikely a ‘national strike’ could be called.
    Wouldn’t it be lovely if Thursday, 15th March, was a national ‘walk your kids to school day’? The fact it’s an ‘outside excursion’ is one of those details our politicians don’t need to know.
    Ah well, we can dream can’t we?
    Thank you AIMN. Take care

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