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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 13 Hansard (6 December) . . Page.. 4026..

Gene Technology Amendment Bill 2007

Ms Gallagher, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Minister for Health, Minister for Children and Young People, Minister for Disability and Community Services, Minister for Women) (10.54): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I am pleased to introduce the Gene Technology Legislation Amendment Bill 2007. This bill has been developed to amend the Gene Technology Act 2003 for the purposes of consistency with the corresponding commonwealth legislation—namely, the Gene Technology Act 2000—by the Gene Technology Amendment Act 2007, the commonwealth amending act, which received royal assent on 28 June this year.

In 2005 a statutory review of the commonwealth Gene Technology Act and the intergovernmental gene technology agreement was conducted. This was in accordance with a statutory requirement that the Gene Technology Ministerial Council must cause an independent review of the operation of the act to be undertaken as soon as possible after the fourth anniversary of the commencement of the act. In October 2006 a working group of the Gene Technology Standing Committee developed an intergovernmental response to the review recommendations. In March 2007 the Gene Technology Ministerial Council gave out-of-session approval for the Gene Technology Legislation Amendment Bill 2007 and explanatory memorandum.

Mr Speaker, this amending legislation is required by the intergovernmental gene technology agreement to which the territory is a party. This agreement committed all jurisdictions to introducing nationally consistent legislation to regulate certain dealings with genetically modified organisms. The amending legislation is consistent with the ACT government's response to the review report recommendations. Please note that recent developments in New South Wales and Victoria relating to the lifting of the moratorium on genetically modified canola have no bearing on this bill. The government will consider these developments and provide advice in due course.

The Victorian parliament has already passed nationally consistent legislation which applies the Gene Technology Act 2000 of the commonwealth as a law of the state. New South Wales and the Northern Territory automatically refer to the commonwealth act and do not require amending legislation. The remaining states and the ACT have undertaken to use their best endeavours to introduce this legislation by 31 December 2007 and for all parties to maintain nationally consistent arrangements over time.

The Gene Technology Act aims to protect the health and safety of people and to protect the environment by identifying risks posed by or as a result of gene

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