11/12/2019 | Tim Whetstone MP

South Australian farmers have voiced their frustrations with the Labor Party and SA Best’s decision to vote against legislation to lift the GM moratorium on mainland South Australia.

Grain Producers SA released a statement shortly after yesterday’s vote took place: “GPSA is bitterly disappointed that politics has once again prevailed over SA farmer choice,” the statement said.

GPSA Chairman Wade Dabinett said farmers had again been denied the freedom of choice to use GM technology.

“Despite the science, economics and public opinion all pointing in favour of growers being able to access GM technology, Labor, SA Best and the Greens all voted against the government’s bill,” said Mr Dabinett.

Other farmers took to social media to voice their frustrations at having their opinions as well as science ignored by both the Labor Party and SA Best.

New regulations to lift the GM crop moratorium in South Australia, except for Kangaroo Island, were meant to take effect on December 1 but Labor, SA Best and the Greens combined to disallow these, calling for legislation to be introduced instead.

Last week the State Government did just this and inexplicably Labor and SA Best have again combined to deny South Australian farmers the choice they have been calling for.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said the Labor/SA Best alliance was hurting South Australia’s economy.

“It’s about time the Labor Party and SA Best took their heads out of the sand and actually listened to the people of South Australia,” said Minister Whetstone.

“After the last election Peter Malinauskas said he would not lead a destructive-style opposition but time and time again all we see is him getting in the way of progress for our state. This latest decision is a clear sign Labor/SA Best are not the farmers’ friend.

“Lifting the GM crop moratorium would allow South Australian farmers to have the same choices as farmers in our neighbouring states which will increase productivity and create jobs.

“The promised price premiums from the GM moratorium have never eventuated and for 15 years our farmers have been crying out for it to be lifted so they can compete on the same playing field as the rest of the country.

“Yet again the Labor Party has turned its back on our regional communities by completely ignoring our farmers and research scientists.

Minister Whetstone said SA Best proposed amendments however these were not supported by farmers and would have heavily regulated GM crops in a manner unacceptable to industry.

“Our decision to lift the GM crop moratorium followed extensive industry and community consultation, as well as the findings of the high-level independent expert review undertaken by Professor Kym Anderson and the recommendations of the GM Crop Advisory Committee,” said Minister Whetstone.

“The independent review found the GM moratorium has cost South Australian grain growers at least $33 million since 2004 and will cost farmers at least a further $5 million if extended to 2025

“By continuing to leave a moratorium in place the Labor Party/SA Best alliance is costing farmers in South Australia real money and denying them a basic right – choice. 

“They are also denying our farmers extra tools such as new and improved future crop varieties to help them deal with drought and tackle climate change.

“The Marshall Liberal Government is committed to lifting the GM moratorium and will now consider its options.”