Compensation for non-GM farmers

About This Campaign

WA’s rural communities are essential to our food security, economy and cultural identity.  Many of our farmers and pastoralists are practicing innovative sustainable farming but more needs to be done to protect and support them.

In June 2017, Diane tabled a petition to ‘Introduce farmer protection legislation to compensate any non-GM farmer who suffers economic loss from GM contamination’.  As a result, an inquiry is now underway into mechanisms for this compensation.

Key Points

    • Following the repeal of the Genetically Modified Crops Free Areas Act 2003 in 2016, WA growers can now grow GeneTechnology Regulator licenced commercial GM crop varieties
    • Currently canola is the only GM crop grown in Western Australia, however it is understood that wheat will soon be introduced to WA
    • GM-free can attract a premium due to consumer preferences for GM-free products and as such, GM-free farmers have the right to target higher prices and increased market share in local and international markets for organic or conventional GM-free crops
    • WA farmers who remain conventional GM-free or organic producers are unprotected, as any claims of damage from impacts from nearby GM farming operations, must be settled through the courts and common law
    • There is a demonstrated need for a legal compensation measure in WA, given the recent outcome of a farmer that lost organic certification for 70% of their land after dry windrowed GM canola from a neighboring property was blown onto their farm.

    See the following links for further information:

‘One step that I’d like to see to protect and support our farming community is to develop strong legislation that enables GM-free farmers economically affected by GM contamination to receive adequate compensation.

A financial mechanism on its own might not be enough.  We should be looking to develop a package of measures that covers GM-free farmers (and possibly all farmers) from financial losses due to others’ mismanagement, (and preferably helps to avoid them in the first place). This could include alternative dispute resolution and insurance and providing financial and other support for farmers to take up insurance against losses specifically due to GM contamination’.

Diane Evers