QUESTION: SA position on the deregulation of new GM techniques

During Question Time, Mark asked the Minister for Health and Wellbeing again about the SA Government's position on the Federal Government's proposal to deregulate a number of new genetic modification techniques, given that the states had been asked to sign-off on the proposed regulatory changes by 11 March this year.


The Hon. M.C. PARNELL: As I outlined in my question to the minister last month on the same issue, I was advised that the federal government had asked the state representatives on the Legislative and Governance Forum on Gene Technology to sign-off on the proposed regulatory changes to the federal gene technology regulations by 11 March this year.

The proposed changes, if approved, would deregulate a number of new GM techniques.

My question of the minister is:

As the South Australian representative on the Legislative and Governance Forum on Gene Technology, can the minister advise whether South Australia's position on the proposal has been decided and, if so, what that position is?

The Hon. S.G. WADE (Minister for Health and Wellbeing): The honourable member has raised this a number of times, and the honourable member is correct that the matter has been raised as an out-of-session item. But the matter hasn't been resolved, in spite of the fact that the date has passed.

I think it's appropriate that, in the context of ministerial councils, we should let the processes of the ministerial council be concluded before we publicly debate them, because one of the issues is whether or not it's an appropriate matter for an out-of-session decision. It's my general view that decisions on contentious matters are best not made out of session because new material might come up, as well as, if you like, the simple binary vote. With all due respect to the honourable member, I don't intend to divulge the internal operations of the ministerial council.