Australia Still Leads in Gene Technology Risk Assessment

Australia Still Leads in Gene Technology Risk Assessment

12 June 2013

Australia is maintaining its leadership in assessing risks to human health and the environment from gene technology.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing, Shayne Neumann, today launched a revised Risk Analysis Framework updating Australias system of regulating GM crops, and other research and development activities with genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

This revised framework ensures that the regulatory scheme for GMOs licensed by the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) remains comprehensive, transparent and science-based, Mr Neumann said.

The Risk Analysis Framework document has been recognised internationally for its comprehensive explanation of how risk analysis can be applied to gene technology, but it is important to keep it relevant and up-to-date with best practice, domestically and internationally.

The revised framework provides a high- level guide to regulatory risk analysis for applicants for GMO licences, the public and staff within the OGTR, so that Australians can be confident that the regulatory system provides adequate oversight.

The main changes in the revised Risk Analysis Framework are a thorough overhaul of how risks are communicated; incorporating weed scientists knowledge and experience of assessing risks from problem plants; and ensuring a consistent approach to risk analysis for all types of GMOs.

Mr Neumann launched the document at the opening of the 5th National Institutional Biosafety Committee Forum in Canberra.