SA-BEST frustrated with GM crops Bill defeat and lays blame with government
SA-BEST had no choice today but to vote down the State Government’s proposal legislation to lift a 16-year moratorium on growing GM crops in South Australia.
SA-BEST MLCs Connie Bonaros and Frank Pangallo’s votes – which the government failed to secure after refusing to support a key SA-BEST amendment - ensured the government’s legislation was defeated after the news laws were also opposed by the Labor Opposition and the Greens.
The amendment proposed by SA-BEST sought to protect non-GM producers in the event of contamination resulting in economic loss or loss of their GM-free status.
Connie said: “SA-BEST can’t - in good conscience - support bad law making. We didn’t on gambling, and we won’t on this.
“When we attempt to create laws that will benefit one group of farmers while at the same time impact others is not good law making,” she said.
“Our stance today will no doubt upset many, many farmers today, and it greatly disappoints us that we weren’t able to deliver what they were seeking, however we also need to take into consideration other farmers and organic growers who don’t want GM crops and may be adversely impacted.
“I ask them to consider this: what if the shoe was on the other foot?
“We fully support the introduction of GM crops, but it needs to be an equal playing field.
“The Minister for Primary Industries, Tim Whetstone, is entirely to plan for the mess he created.
“We urge the Minister to work with all sides of politics and come back in the New Year with a new multi-partisan proposal that is workable.”
Frank said: “We are extremely disappointed that the Bill failed and blame Minister Whetstone for it.
“This government let down farmers with its controversial Mining Bill, and it’s now done it again with its arrogant and reckless stance with GM crops,” he said.
“The Minister’s handling of negotiations over the past 24 hours fell well short of what was required to ensure the success of the Bill.
“For the record, let me make SA-BEST’s position very clear on GM crops.
“We support farmers’ and their rights to choose to grow the crops of their choosing - but there needs to be flexibility, compromise and protections.
“What SA-BEST proposed would have ensured all stakeholders were satisfied.
“We were also prepared to continue debate for the rest of the week to attempt to find a compromise, but the government chose instead to close Parliament for the Christmas recess.
“One needs to ask the government why if the issue was so important, it wanted to pass the legislation by years’ end.”