Repeal of GM Crops Free Areas Act 2003

Page last updated: Thursday, 20 June 2019 - 9:33am

The Western Australian (WA) Government repealed the Genetically Modified Crops Free Areas Act 2003 (GMCFAA) with effect from 28 October 2016.

The repeal of this legislation has removed a potential barrier to our State’s agricultural producers accessing genetically modified (GM) crops approved for commercial release in Australia by the Gene Technology Regulator (GTR).

What the repeal means for Western Australia

Following repeal of the GMCFAA, WA growers are now free to grow GTR licenced commercial GM crop varieties without the need for a WA exemption order. 

To date GM canola, GM cotton and GM safflower are the only commercial crops that are approved for commercial release in Australia. GM blue-flowered carnations are approved for commercial cultivation in Australia and to be imported from overseas.

Refer to the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator website for a list of genetically modified organisms (GMO) approved for commercial release in Australia.

The repeal of this legislation will:

  • give greater certainty to WA producers and investors
  • reduce regulatory burden
  • provide access to new technologies
  • help develop crop varieties that are climate resilient or have improved quality or with health benefits
  • assist the agriculture sector to remain internationally competitive. 

It is important to note that GM crop growers will still need to adhere with the commercial licence and Stewardship Agreement with their Technology Providers.

Repeal of the GMCFAA does not affect the national licensing process for GM crops which ensures only safe GM crops may be planted in our State. The GMCFAA legislation was not related to safety and health assessments.

The Commonwealth Gene Technology Act 2000 continues to protect the safety and health of people and the environment from harm associated with dealings with GMOs.

The GTR will continue with ongoing monitoring and enforcement activities on commercial GM crops approved under the legislation.

Contact information

Genetic Modification Policy and Regulation