Last night’s vote by the Parliament of Western Australia to repeal the Genetically Modified Crops Free Areas Act (2003) gives WA farmers certainty they will be able to choose the innovative tools they need to sustainably produce quality food and help build a stronger WA economy.
Monsanto Australia Managing Director Tony May said the development can only be a good thing for the ongoing productivity and profitability of agriculture in Western Australia.
“Genetically Modified (GM) crops have been safely grown in Australia for 20 years and GM Canola has been grown in WA since 2010. With yesterday’s repeal, farmers can now make decisions about their cropping business with greater certainty, on par with their competitors in other Australian states and internationally that allow GM crops to be grown.
“The vote to repeal the Act is a significant development for agricultural innovation in Australia’s largest grain growing state. It ensures farmers have the freedom to choose the production system that best suits their unique cropping operation,” Tony said.
This year, 720 WA farmers chose to grow GM canola varieties including 80 growers choosing to grow GM canola for the first time. More than 30 per cent of the canola produced in WA this season will be GM canola varieties.
“The grains industry has long recognised that new technologies, such as GM, are key to boosting productivity and competiveness in the Australian agriculture sector.
“The repeal of the Act gives growers certainty that not only will they be able to use existing GM technologies but they will also have access to future advancements in plant biotechnology that could improve their productivity and sustainability.
“The campaign to allow access to approved GM technologies was led by WA farmers who intimately understand the success of their businesses relies on the opportunity to use modern innovations,” Tony said.
Since they were introduced to Australia 20 years ago, GM crops have boosted farmer incomes by A$1.37 billion, reduced pesticide use by 22 million kg of active ingredient and lowered carbon emissions by 71.5 million kg. 
For more information, visit www.farmerchoice.org.au.