​Media Release

GM ban extension shows contempt for rural SA

17 November 2017

"The truth is there are not a lot of votes out there in country South Australia for us, so in some ways we are free of the electoral imperatives about this."
Jay Weatherill, ABC Landline, July 2017

Jay Weatherill has proved yet again today that he and the South Australian Labor Government hold the State's farmers, and its rural and regional communities, in contempt.

Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources and Senator for South Australia Anne Ruston said the flagged extension of a ban on commercial production of genetically-modified crops until 2025 was not only a threat to innovation in agriculture.

"This extension places South Australian farmers at a considerable disadvantage on an ideological fancy of a Premier who neglects regional areas of the State because, in his own disgusting words, there aren't a lot of votes for him," Minister Ruston said.

"It further threatens South Australia's agricultural research sector. Research dollars will bypass SA, seeking more open-minded states which don't play politic games with the livelihoods of farming families.

"This is utterly cynical hypocrisy from the South Australian Labor government, which is investing millions of dollars in genetic modification to produce sterile male Queensland fruit flies with a commercial focus, but refuses to let SA farmers utilise the same technology themselves.

"Weatherill won't even consult with farmers in his own State, or review the entirely positive experiences of farmers in states which sensibly allow GM crops. He obviously has nothing but contempt for regional South Australia, where a quarter of the State's population lives and works propping up an economy struggling under 15 years of Labor.

"The world's farmers will need to feed nine billion people by 2050. Innovation and technology will be essential in meeting this challenge, and our own farmers must not have their hands tied by a city-centric Premier's political games.

"Unless the Premier can provide unequivocal evidence there's a clear commercial advantage for South Australia's farmers with his extended GM ban, he needs to allow them access to the same GM technology being used profitably and harmlessly by farmers in other Australian states."​