Australian States Lift Biotech Ban

Biotech canola will be approved for planting in two Australian states.

New South Wales and Victoria plan to lift the ban on biotech canola, allowing farmers to choose what variety of canola they want to plant. The current session of Parliament will change existing state law ending a four-year ban on genetically modified canola in New South Wales. Victoria will lift the moratorium in February.

According to New South Wales Primary Industries Minister Ian McDonald, the move puts farmers in the states on a level playing field with overseas farmers.

While farm lobbies support the move and farmers in several other states are calling for the same consideration, some officials are not pleased by the move to lift the ban. Western Australian and Tasmanian ag ministers urged maintaining the ban, saying the move would put Western Australia's and Tasmania's GM-free agriculture at risk and endangering Australia's overseas markets.

However National Farmers' Federation President David Crombie is urging other states to lift their bans on GM canola production, and Western Australia Farmers' Federation President Trevor De Landgrafft is calling for the state government to allow farmers to plant the crops they want.

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