Pitting producers and production systems against each other in the law courts is not the common-sense, realistic approach to dealing with act-of-nature accidental issues in Australian agriculture.
The current situation in WA around the handling of one local issue with GM canola stands in stark contrast to the overwhelmingly successful integration of GM technology occurring across the rest of WA in 2010, and previously in NSW and Victoria.
The reality is the system is not broken, there is no need for wholesale changes to regulations or operating procedures, and there is definitely no need for the media hype and legal sabre rattling.
Instead, the parties should first seek to understand what actually occurred and then deal with it in an informed, mature and systematic manner that is based on good science and Australia's established protocols and procedures that ensure the requirements of markets and customers are met.
It is NASAA's decision to de-certify an organic farmer over an accidental occurrence that has caused this problem. That decision is based on a policy of zero tolerance. That decision has caused undue harm to that farmer and has elevated a matter between two neighbours to a national media issue.
Moreover, the Australian organic standard does not mirror the international organic standard that provides tolerances to reflect how biological systems and agricultural supply chains work in reality. The Australian organic standard disadvantages Australian organic producers in the international market place making our certification harder to achieve than our international competitors.
Sadly, the legal process being launched in WA will not deliver a solution or ensure the best outcome for all producers. Grain Producers Australia urges all parties involved in the WA matter to put sound science, established principles of coexistence and common-sense before emotion and ideological manoeuvring.
Grain Producers Australia is the peak body responsible for representing producers at the national level.
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