You can contact him at:
Hon. Donald Terrence Redman MLA
Level 11 East, Dumas House
2 Havelock Street
West Perth WA 6005
Ph: (08) 9213 6700
Fax: (08) 9213 6701
Network of Concerned Farmers spokesperson Julie Newman described the Terry Redman's decision as "grossly negligent", arguing that the Minister had allowed a "back-door" commercial release of GE canola.
Ms Newman also slammed Mr Redman ’s decision to ignore the pending release of an independent report on GE canola by the GM Reference Group. She said Mr Redman had "deliberately scorned" the group’s report and had announced the trials "half-cocked" because the report was meant to be considered before any decision was made. Mr Redman was due to receive a draft copy before the New Year.
Ms Newman said the reference group ’s report would prove "beyond doubt", that the agronomic benefits promised by GE canola did not "stack up". The controversial crop would provide little or no advantage in WA, she said. This conclusion is supported by the recent Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) trial results in which GE canola yielded 17% less than conventional canola.
“We are disappointed that the Government has ignored consumers’ and farmers’ concerns about the risks involved in introducing GM crops.”
– Piers Verstegen, WA Conservation Council
She said the report would also show that segregation was designed to fail because of the poor coexistence guidelines. Furthermore, the costs and liabilities of GE canola are unfairly placed on non-GE farmers because they will no longer be able to sell their produce as non-GE.
Whilst the Minister has claimed that the release of GE canola in WA is a ‘trial’, Ms Newman is concerned that the resulting contamination will be impossible to contain. “A 1000 hectare trial of GM is too big to be a real trial and completely ridiculous because once it is in the system that ’s it, it can ’t be reversed…It’s not a real trial and it’s no different to the commercial release of GM canola in New South Wales and Victoria.”
"WA could have picked up half of Australia ’s domestic canola market if we stayed GM free because consumers don ’t want to eat it and it has to be labelled non-GM," Ms Newman said. Instead the Government is jeopardising domestic markets as well as key export markets such as Europe and Japan.
The WA Conservation Council backed Ms Newman ’s comments stating that WA would lose critical markets and its clean, green reputation. Council director Piers Verstegen said the latest move to introduce GE would throw away WA’s great opportunity to maintain GE-free status and capitalise on the growing demand locally and internationally for GE-free produce.
"We are disappointed that the Government has ignored consumers’ and farmers’ concerns about the risks involved in introducing GM crops," he said.
"Despite Mr Redman ’s claims that the 20 farmers and approximately 1000 hectares of GM will be in a closed loop system there is no way to stop contamination of non-GM crops…Once you take this genie out of the bottle there is no going back. Already there has been contamination of non-GM crops in Victoria."
Mr Verstegen accused the WA Government of arrogance for ignoring the 27,000 people who signed a petition calling for an extension to the moratorium of all GE crops.
The recent GRDC trials have shown that GE canola does not stack up. By allowing the GE canola ‘trials’ Terry Redman is jeopardising the environment, consumer choice, and the livelihoods of farmers.
Source: Bettles, C. (2009) GM sneaks through back door: opponents, Farm Weekly, Page 3, Thursday, 1 January 2009