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MP Paul Llewellyn has moved a motion to disallow GE canola trials
MP Paul Llewellyn has moved a motion to disallow GE canola trials
West Australian GE canola trials may be stopped

On 23rd December 2008 Western Australia’s Agriculture Minister Terry Redman sneakily announced that he would approve trials of genetically engineered (GE) canola in WA this year. However on 10th March 2009, Greens MP Paul Llewellyn moved a motion to disallow the trials. The motion, which has been supported by the Opposition, could mean that no GE canola will be planted in WA this year.

Mr Llewellyn believes that the 1000 hectare trials are really commercialisation by stealth. He argues that “we must keep the current moratorium in place. The community doesn’t want GE crops and many farmers are concerned about cross contamination issues.” Mr Llewellyn’s disallowance motion must now be debated within twelve parliamentary sitting days. It is likely that it will be passed, since it has the support of the ALP who still hold the balance in the Upper House until May.

There are concerns that the WA Government will go ahead with allowing the planting of the trials before the disallowance motion is moved. However, once the disallowance motion is passed the crops would then be illegal and would have to be destroyed. Under the State legislation the illegal growing of GE crops is also punishable with a $200,000 fine – which ought to be enough to dissuade even the most fervent pro-GE farmers from planting the stuff!

Greenpeace is demanding that the debating of the disallowance motion be brought forward in order to avoid contamination from the soon to be illegal field trials.
The State legislation also allows shire’s in WA to declare themselves GE free and the Minister has stated that he does not intend to allow trial cultivations of GE crops in a local government district that he knows has declared itself GE free. So, if you live in WA, now’s a great time to get your shire to go GE-free!
 
As of last week there are now 13 GE free shires in WA – the City Of Fremantle, Manjimup, Boyup Brook, Wagin, Wandering, Toodyay, Woodanilling, Goomalling, Williams, Plantagenet, Carnamah, Tammin and Serpentine-Jarrahdale. Please ensure that your shire is added to the list!
 
What you can do

  • Protest against the Terry Redman’s position on GE crops at the National Party Conference, Saturday April 4th, Kalgoorlie. For more information please contact Janet Grogan: jan60gro@yahoo.com
  • Make your shire a GE-free zone. GeneEthics have a resource kit on how to make your council GE free on their website, as well as GE free zone posters and petitions. For a list of WA councillors and for more advice contact Janet Grogan: jan60gro@yahoo.com
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