SA in second move to lift GM crops ban

Tim Dornin
The SA government is trying to lift a ban on genetically modified crops on the SA mainland

The South Australian government is having a second crack at lifting a ban on genetically-modified crops, this time through legislation.

The government recently introduced regulations to lift the ban from December, but they were disallowed by parliament last week.

Primary Industries Minister Tim Whetstone says he'll now bring a bill to parliament on Tuesday to lift the moratorium on the SA mainland in a bid to help farmers grow the economy and create jobs.

"Last week we were challenged to bring forward legislation so we are doing exactly that and we will be asking the parliament to deal with the Bill this week to provide our farmers with certainty for planning their 2020 crop," Mr Whetstone said.

"New and improved crop varieties will also help farmers tackle drought and climate change as we look to provide our grain growers with as many tools as possible."

In parliament's upper house last week, Labor, the Greens and SA-BEST combined to strike out the government's previous regulations.

SA-BEST MPs said their decision to support the disallowance motion came because the government had tried to sidestep normal parliamentary procedures.

SA's GM ban was first imposed in 2003 and was due to remain in place until at least 2025.

An independent review earlier this year also found the ban had cost the state's farmers up to $33 million over the past 15 years.

But supporters of the ban argue the restrictions give local producers an advantage on national and international markets with buyers willing to pay more for "clean and green" produce.

Mr Whetstone said if the new bill does not pass the parliament the government will reconsider its regulatory options.