Labor’s L-plate Minister for Primary Industries Leon Bignell has again demonstrated his ignorance of the GM debate and his lack of understanding for agricultural industries.
Mr Bignell has compared genetically modified products with asbestos and tobacco, suggesting that long term health threats from GM could have similar consequences.
“Mr Bignell’s comments are completely ill-informed, unacceptable and consistent with Labor’s L-plate governance since the election,” said Shadow Minister for Agriculture David Ridgway.
“Such exaggerated and damaging claims without evidence only serve to hinder our agriculture sector, rather than progress it on the basis of good research.
“Agriculture has been South Australia’s biggest industry for 175 years – it needs and deserves strong leadership from the Minister, not emotionally motivated, baseless comments.”
Mr Ridgway said that, while many remain concerned about the health impacts of GM products, there is little conclusive evidence that GM products are harmful to human health. This is especially so when compared to the devastating health impacts of tobacco and asbestos.
The State Liberals have reconfirmed their continued support for a GM moratorium and are calling on Minister Bignell to quantify the benefits of remaining GM-free, which Labor continues to assert is the case.
“We need to measure the benefits of remaining GM-free and quantify the price premiums our producers receive over producers in other states. Mr Bignell should quantify the benefits so that South Australia can monitor the ongoing benefits of remaining GM-free in a transparent and accountable manner,” said Mr Ridgway.
“South Australia needs to strengthen our research industry, scientific, economic and environmental expertise, to monitor the economic benefits to SA farmers of remaining GM-free,” said Mr Ridgway.