The Western Australian Government has once again let down WA farmers and consumers. Latest developments have revealed the extent to which the WA Government has dropped the ball on genetic engineering.
This week, Kojonup organic grower Steve Marsh has had half of his farm de-certified following contamination with Roundup Ready GM Canola.
Mr Marsh's neighbours had been growing the Monsanto crop since WA lifted its moratorium one year ago and appear to have followed the government's flimsy guidelines on segregation. But a 5-metre exclusion zone was never going to protect the conventional and organic farmers who have refused to join the small minority taking up GE seed.
In an appalling abrogation of responsibility, WA Agriculture Minister Terry Redman, himself a farmer, has followed Monsanto's lead in blaming the organic certifier for Mr Marsh's losses. This demonstrates the extent to which the minister is an advocate for multinational chemical companies before he is a defender of WA farmers.
The property rights of farmers have been trampled in Monsanto's push to infiltrate and further dominate Australian agriculture. Terry Redman has merely stepped aside and allowed it.
The news comes hot on the heels of information obtained by Greenpeace that the WA Department of Health has likewise gone missing on the issue of GM food safety.
A freedom of information request has revealed that the WA Department of Health has, “not conducted or participated in, and does not hold any documents relating to” tests to determine the presence of novel DNA or proteins, between 2005 and today.
The WA Government has an obligation under Australia’s food standards to test for compliance with GM labelling laws. Illegal contamination might be rife but we wouldn't know it.
“Minister Redman has done nothing to protect farmers from inevitable contamination from GM crops. Now these FOI results show his government isn’t fulfilling its legal requirement to test food for GM contamination and ensure it is correctly labelled under Australian food standards,” said Greenpeace campaigner, Laura Kelly
“This is a big green light to multinational chemical companies like Monsanto to contaminate WA farms, because there will be no legal or financial repercussions, in the field or at the check-out, regardless of the costs this imposes on farmers and consumers.”
“Because of Redman’s leadership failure, farmers have lost their non-GE market premium, WA consumers have lost their fundamental right to know if they are eating GE and foreign chemical companies will increase their control of WA’s food supply.”
Email WA Government ministers and urge them to think of the people of WA.