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Australia: Release of GM Sugarcane for Herbicide Tolerance

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The Gene Technology Regulator has made a decision to issue a licence in respect of application DIR 096 from BSES Limited (BSES). The applicant has received approval for the limited and controlled release of up to 6,000 sugarcane lines genetically modified for herbicide tolerance. The release is expected to take place at six BSES stations in the Queensland shires of Moreton Bay, Bundaberg, Mackay, Burdekin and Cairns on a maximum total area of 26 ha between November 2009 and November 2015. None of the GM sugarcane plants will be permitted to be used as human food or animal feed.

The decision to issue the licence was made after extensive consultation on the Risk Assessment and Risk Management Plan (RARMP) with the public, State and Territory governments, Australian Government agencies, the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts and the Gene Technology Technical Advisory Committee and relevant local councils, as required by the Gene Technology Act 2000 and corresponding State and Territory laws.

Issues relating to the health and safety of people and the protection of the environment raised during the consultation process on this application were considered in finalising the RARMP and in making the decision to issue the licence.

The Executive Summary, Technical Summary and complete finalised RARMP, together with a set of Questions and Answers on this decision and a copy of the licence, can be obtained on-line from the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator’s website