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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 14 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 5265..


MR WOOD (continuing):

presented. The department has identified several inadvertent errors and omissions in the tabled 2002-03 annual report.

The department advises that, in particular, a series of graphs contained within volume 2 had inaccuracies that were caused by typesetting errors. I am also re-tabling the revised volume 1 and 2 for members' information. The chair of the Standing Committee on Community Services and Social Equity has been advised of the errors and omissions and provided with this data.

Gene Technology (GM Crop Moratorium) Bill 2003

Exposure draft

MR CORBELL (Minister for Health and Minister for Planning) (3.52): For the information of members, I present the following paper:

Gene Technology (GM Crop Moratorium) Bill 2003 - Exposure Draft.

I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

In June this year the government issued its response to the Standing Committee on Health's inquiry into the Gene Technology Bill 2002. Of particular note was the government's response to recommendation 3 in which the government declared a three-year moratorium on the commercial release of GM food crops and foreshadowed the introduction of legislation to give effect to the moratorium.

The ACT government supports and is a participant in the national regulatory framework for gene technology. Under the framework agreed between the Commonwealth, states and territories, the Gene Technology Regulator is responsible for assessing and managing risks to human health and safety, and to the environment, while the states and territories are able to take action to manage the marketing implications of the commercial release of genetically-modified food crops.

In line with the government's commitment, I am tabling today an exposure draft of the Gene Technology (GM Crop Moratorium) Bill 2003. The bill seeks to prohibit the commercial production of certain genetically modified food crops in the territory for a period of three years. It is important to introduce this exposure draft today to enable broad consultation to take place on it. I welcome the involvement of members, stakeholders and interest groups in this process.

The moratorium will provide the ACT community with time to evaluate any impacts from the introduction of genetically modified food crops on the marketing of non-genetically modified food crops.

The safety assessment process for GM food is well-designed and rigorously carried out by the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator. Nevertheless, many consumers prefer to avoid GM food and, indeed, prefer food from regions that do not have GM crops. With proper regulation of GM food ensuring safety, this is not a health issue but a simple


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