Is the answer still blowing in the wind after the GM canola case?

By Andrew Gill

If Australia is to meet its aspirations of providing high-quality food in high volume to the rest of the world, it must ensure that agribusinesses can operate with certainty in the market, rather than being left ‘blowing in the wind’.

Despite strongly opposing opinions presented in the GM canola case, discussed below, both genetically modified (GM) and organic supporters agree on one front; the law is uncertain and it should be amended. As it stands, the law does not provide protection for organic farmers or certainty for GM growers. With both the GM and organic industries increasing rapidly, this is an issue which will only become more pressing.

The long-running dispute between GM canola farmer Michael Baxter and his neighbour, organic farmer Steve Marsh, was finally decided by the Western Australian Supreme Court in a landmark decision. The case, watched closely by interested parties globally, highlighted the growing conflict of interests and rights between organic and GM farmers. However, despite the importance of the judgment, the case has failed to provide any real certainty for the agribusiness industry…

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