Greens call for farmer protection and oppose lifting the gate to GM Crops in WA

Greens South Metropolitan MLC Lynn MacLaren will today reiterate her opposition to the Genetically Modified Crops Free Areas Repeal Bill – telling Parliament the Bill would further weaken protection for non-GM and organic farmers.  
 
“We know that less than a third of WA farmers currently grow GM crops – we need to ensure that the remaining 70 plus per cent are protected.
 
“When the Barnett Government granted an exemption in 2010 to permit the commercial cultivation of GM canola, I flagged it would put the livelihoods of non-GM farmers at risk.
 
“In subsequent years, Steve Marsh’s crops were contaminated. As a result, not only did Steve endure years of costly litigation, he has been denied compensation and will be forced to pay legal costs.
 
“Today, Steve and his wife Sue risk losing their farm – a business they have dedicated their adult lives to.
 
“It is unacceptable that non-GM farmers should be penalised for the contamination of crops which is outside of their control.
 
“If the Genetically Modified Crops Free Areas Act is repealed, we may well see more cases like the Marshes’.”
 
“Aside from the issue of segregation, the Greens are worried about the effect on lucrative European markets – buyers we know have paid up to $70 a tonne for non-GM crops – as well as the lack of conclusive research into GMOs and its tendency to go hand in hand with the use of potentially harmful pesticides.
 
“I’m worried about due process and the fact that this repeal bill will remove the potential for further parliamentary debate – and I’m concerned this inadequate system will foster growing animosity among the farming community and destroy long-term friendships as it did with Steve Marsh and his neighbour Michael Baxter.”