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Genetically modified canola
Extract from Hansard
[COUNCIL — Tuesday, 20 September 2011]
Hon Lynn MacLaren; Hon Robyn McSweeney
GENETICALLY MODIFIED CANOLA
776. Hon LYNN MacLAREN to the minister representing the Minister for Agriculture and Food:
(1) Is the minister aware of the citizen science survey results from the Esperance region released today by the Conservation Council of Western Australia, which found that road transport will spread genetically modified plants over vast areas?
(2) Is the minister aware that the recent GM canola spill in Williams resulted in the germination of
hundreds of GM canola plants?
(3) What action will the WA government take to protect farmers’ non-GM canola crops from potential GM contamination by weedy GM canola plants?
(4) Is the minister aware of claims that Main Roads and the Wheatbelt shires will potentially inherit the
cost and legal responsibility for fugitive GM canola on road reserves?
Hon ROBYN McSWEENEY replied:
I thank the honourable member for some notice of the question.
(1) Yes. Canola plants have been growing on roadsides in Western Australia since 1996, the year of the
first widespread canola plantings. As GM canola is now planted in WA, it is not unexpected that there
will be GM canola volunteers on roadsides.
(2) I am aware of media reports of germination of seeds from the spill. It would be expected that viable GM seed will germinate given appropriate rainfall conditions. Co-operative Bulk Handling has implemented a site management plan which incorporates both the clean-up and monitoring of the site and will include control of volunteers.
(3) The government has ensured that appropriate permits are in place to allow for effective control of GM
canola on roadsides. The Department of Agriculture and Food has provided local governments with a
fact sheet outlining the options for control of GM canola.