GM compensation petition pays off

Greens (WA) agriculture spokesperson Diane Evers has welcomed the agreement by a Parliamentary committee to hold an inquiry into compensation for economic loss to WA farmers caused by contamination by genetically modified material.

“Tabling a petition organised by Foodwatch that called for new laws to compensate farmers who lose money due to GM contamination, was one of my first acts as a Parliamentarian in June,” she said.

“So I am delighted that the Standing Committee on Environment and Public Affairs, with the backing of the Agriculture Minister, has agreed to a first step, which is an inquiry into mechanisms for compensation for economic loss to farmers in WA caused by contamination by GM material.

“It is apparent from the case of Kojonup farmer Steve Marsh that the rights of non-GM farmers in WA, who outnumber farmers growing GM, are not sufficiently protected by law.

“For as long as farmers want to meet demand from consumers for non-GM products, the risk of their fields being contaminated and them experiencing economic loss will remain.

“WA farmers should not lose their right to sell non-GM crops at a higher price, due to the actions of another grower. This is an issue that cannot be ignored.

“The Standing Committee has stated that it intends to ‘consider broader matters than set out in the terms of the petition’ so I will be looking very closely at the terms of reference for this inquiry to ensure they cover all the relevant matters.”