National

Crossbench party moves on GM crops for SA

By AAP Newswire

A bill to allow genetically-modified crops to be grown on the South Australian mainland will be introduced to state parliament with crossbench party SA-BEST calling it a more balanced approach than government proposals.

The Liberal government last year tried to have its own legislation passed to lift the moratorium on GM crops but the move was defeated in the upper house, with the two SA-BEST MPs voting against it.

It has since regulated to allow farmers to introduce the technology and has vowed to return its own legislation to parliament this year.

But SA-BEST's Frank Pangallo has urged the government to support his private member's bill which he says has better safeguards for farmers of non-GM crops.

"We support farmers and their rights to grow the crops of their choosing but there needs to be flexibility, compromise and protections for GM and non-GM producers," he said.

The SA-BEST legislation, to be introduced on Wednesday, will maintain the ban on GM crops on Kangaroo Island.

They will also impose a 10-metre buffer zone between farms growing GM crops and any neighbouring properties that are GM free, allow more inspections by the Environment Protection Authority and force farmers to give their neighbours 60 days notice before planting or harvesting GM crops.

A ban on GM crops was first introduced by the previous Labor state government in 2003 and was due to remain in effect until at least 2025.

Opponents of the ban have long criticised the restrictions for limiting investment in the agriculture sector but supporters argue it gives local farmers an advantage as the source of "clean and green" produce.