Globally recognised agriculture policy analyst to lead independent review of GM Moratorium

Experienced economist and agriculture policy analyst Emeritus Professor Kym Anderson AC has been appointed to undertake an independent review of the genetically modified food crops moratorium in South Australia.


The Marshall Liberal Government is delivering on a pledge to commence a high-level independent review of the state’s GM Moratorium within six months of forming government.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said the independent review will evaluate the benefits and costs to the South Australian economy and our agricultural industries of the GM Moratorium.

“The former Labor Government rushed through a six-year extension to the GM Moratorium prior to the election without any consultation,” said Minister Whetstone.

“There was no attempt by Labor to assess whether the moratorium was good or bad for the economy or our grains and agricultural industries.

“There was no effort made to ask what impact the policy would have over the next seven years on business investment, job opportunities and South Australia’s reputation as a world-leading location for plant industry research and development.

“Unlike the previous approach, this government sees the need to have a balanced approach to the GM question and this independent review will provide an opportunity for people to provide real evidence as to the benefits or costs of the policy.

“Once completed, the review will enable better informed policy decisions regarding GM food crops in South Australia.

“Anyone interested will have the chance to provide input into the review with written submissions being sought from Monday 17 September 2018.”

Minister Whetstone said Professor Anderson was chosen for the review as he has significant globally recognised experience and expertise as an applied policy analyst in the economics of agriculture, food and wine.

Under the terms of reference, the review will:

  • Assess available evidence on the market benefits of South Australia’s moratorium on the commercial cultivation of GM crops.
  • Assess the degree of awareness of South Australia’s moratorium by key trading partners and food production businesses operating in South Australia and other Australian states.
  • Where there is evidence of market benefits resulting from the moratorium, examine whether it is possible to retain such benefits for industry through the use of systems of segregation in the supply chain, having regard to segregation protocols adopted in other jurisdictions.
  • Consider evidence from South Australian businesses and industry, market and trade data, the experience in other Australian and international jurisdictions and other relevant evidence to inform the analysis.
  • Explore whether there are potential innovations likely to be available for commercial adoption by South Australia’s agricultural industries prior to 2025 that would justify a reconsideration of the moratorium on grounds of economic benefit to the state.
  • Quantify where possible the economic costs and benefits of maintaining, modifying or removing the moratorium, not limited to but including on-farm impacts, food manufacturing, supply chain costs and impacts on research and development investment in South Australia.

Matters of human health, safety and environmental impacts are not within the scope of this review as the regulation of these aspects of gene technology are covered under Commonwealth legislation.

Submissions are due by Friday 26 October 2018. It is expected the review will be complete in the first quarter of 2019.

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