Genetic modification

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development conducts research, development and extension activities in collaboration with industry partners to improve the productivity and profitability of Western Australian agriculture sector.

The department is part of the nationally consistent regulatory system that underpins and enhances Australia's and Western Australia's use of safe regulatory approved genetically modified organisms.

The value of Australia’s production and export of produce is dependent on maintaining the competitiveness of WA agriculture producers. Growers need access to the most productive new crop varieties to maintain their international competitiveness and genetic modification is a type of plant breeding that can deliver new improved varieties.

The department manages the New Genes for New Environments’ research facility in Merredin. This facility was designed to enable the evaluation of the world’s best candidate genetically modified traits from both public and private research organisations under Western Australian conditions in a highly contained and safe testing environment. The ‘New Genes for New Environments’ initiative together with the Managed Environment Facility will improve the long-term profitability of the WA agriculture industries by facilitating the adoption of new climate-adapted crops.


  • Progress to date of third review of the National Gene Technology Scheme 2017 and Technical Review of the Gene Technology Regulations 2001.

  • Coexistence: Existing in mutual tolerance; Everyone’s Responsibility

  • This page contains information on commercial and experimental plantings of genetically modified (GM) crops carried out in the past and present in Western Australia.

  • Traditionally ANZAC day marked the date on which growers in Western Australia would start dry seeding.

  • Canola is an important crop in Western Australia, with production in 2018/19 estimated at 1.45 million tonnes worth around $812 million to the state economy.

  • The Institutional Biosafety Committee monitors all dealings with genetically modified organisms that involve the staff and research facilities of the Department of Primary Industries and Regional D

  • Growers planning to deliver to the non-genetically modified canola segregation (CAN), must separate glyphosate-tolerant and non-glyphosate tolerant canola crops by at least five metres.

  • Genetic modification (GM) is the use of modern biotechnology techniques to change the genes of an organism, such as a plant or animal. Their use is highly regulated in Australia.

  • New Genes for New Environments research facilities at Merredin and Katanning provide relevant field conditions for genetically modified crop evaluation trials in Western Australia under contrasting

  • The Western Australian (WA) Government repealed the Genetically Modified Crops Free Areas Act 2003 (GMCFAA) with effect from 28 October 2016.