THERE appears no immediate end in sight to the stand off surrounding genetically modified (GM) food crops in South Australia after a government bill to allow GM food crops was narrowly defeated in the state's Upper Hous this afternoon.
It comes after a last minute move by the SA Labor Party which came up with a compromise proposal, whereby farmers who wanted to grow GM could, but those who wanted to protect their GM-free premiums would be protected.
However, the state government rejected the plan, saying it would be unworkable in practice.
The GM amemdnment bill, as moved by the Marshall Government, was taken to a vote in the Upper House where it was defeated.
Previous plans to allow SA growers access to GM technology were foiled by a disallowance motion by the SA Greens which passed through the Upper House.
The timing is critical, if nothing is decided this year and the status quo, with a GM moratorium in place, is left until Parliament resumes in the new year even if the moratorium was to lifted it would be too late for farmers to get organised for the 2020 winter crop.
The ALP plan was for the decision on whether to allow GM crops or not to be made on a council-by-council basis.
Grain Producers South Australia, the peak grain growing body for the state has undertaken a public relations campaign backing the government bill to allow GM crops to be grown, with its #backthebill hashtag gathering strong support on social media.
Canola is the only commercialised dedicated GM food crop grown in Australia at present and is the immediate focus of any GM plantings in SA.