Standing Committee on Primary Industries and Regional
House Committee Supports Gene Technology
Media Advice: 19 June 2000
A House of Representatives Committee has recommended the continued use of gene technology,
but only with stringent regulation, constant and cautious monitoring and public reporting.
The Primary Industries and Regional Services Committee today released its report on gene
technology into agriculture. The report, Work in Progress: Proceed with Caution.
Primary Producer Access to Gene Technology, is the culmination of 15 months research
and investigation by the House Committee.
The House Committee identified the risks with genetically modified organisms, however it
supported GMOs as long as an independent regulatory process is adopted.
"It is vital and critical that any of the risks associated with GMO are avoided,"
Fran Bailey, the House Committee Chair, said. "And, they can be avoided if we have an
The House Committee, in its report, criticises the Interim Office of the Gene Technology
Regulator over its handling of an incident with genetically modified crops in
"This incident demonstrates the need for an independent regulator operating in a
transparent and rigorous manner," Fran Bailey said.
"It is vital that the regulatory system must be efficient, rigorous, open to public
scrutiny, encourage public involvement, and be independent of pressure from interest groups.
"Unless the Regulator can demonstrate this, the public will not be confident that their
health and the environment are being properly protected."
In addition to establishing a more effective regulator, the House Committee also
recommends that the Federal Government should increase its levels of research funding
into GMOs; ensure that adequate intellectual property protection is available; and assist
organisations to be more commercially viable with GM products.
In total, the House Primary Industries and Regional Services Committee has made 37
recommendations in its report into Primary Producer Access to Gene Technology. These
- Benefits and risks of gene technology in agriculture,
- Understanding genetically modified organisms,
- Research, development and commercialisation,
- Intellectual property, and Regulation.
For all media comments contact Fran Bailey, House Committee Chair, on 0262774280
or 0419 583 647.
For background information on the inquiry, contact the Committee Secretariat on 026277 4500.
For all other media enquiries contact the House of Representatives Media Adviser,
(02) 6277 2063, 0401 143 724 or
19 June 2000
Back to top