The Safe Food Foundation welcomes Steve Marsh’s decision to appeal the decision against him in the Western Australian Supreme Court last month. He lodged his appeal on Wednesday 18 June and the appeal will be heard in the next six to twelve months before the court of appeal made up of three judges.
“It is too early for either the pro GM or non GM or organic industry to draw any conclusions from the case now that it will be appealed. The Safe Food Foundation has been disappointed at much of the media coverage extensively quoting pro GM groups celebrating Steve’s loss. Let us remember that Steve could lose his farm fighting for his right to farm without the threat of GM crops blowing onto his farm every time his neighbour chooses to plant next door to him,” said Scott Kinnear.
“We reject any suggestion that the economic loss suffered by Steve Marsh could have been sorted out as suggested over the back fence or over a cup of tea or a beer. This case should never have been brought if State and Commonwealth governments had implemented legislation as requested by the organic industry when the Gene Technology Act was introduced.”
“Win or lose, The Safe Food Foundation believes farmer protection legislation is the appropriate way to sort out these market access issues rather than common law that is expensive, risky and comes at a great individual personal cost. The Safe Food Foundation strongly supports organic farming as a far better way to protect the environment in Australia and wants to see its adoption expanded and not curtailed by contamination from GM.”
“The Safe Food Foundation wants to see legislation that requires GM farmers to meet strict rules designed to stop contamination. In addition a compensation fund paid for by the GM industry is needed to pay out damages suffered from GM contamination where no individual GM farmer can be identified as being at fault.”
“The evidence at trial showed that Michael Baxter could have planted further back and restrained from swathing which would have prevented the contamination of Steve’s farm. The Safe Food Foundation hopes that GM farmers across Australia act with caution right now and take care to avoid contaminating their non GM and organic neighbours. This is the right thing to do and in keeping with co-existence of different farm systems.”
“SFF hopes that the court of appeal will recognize that Steve was owed a duty of care and that NASAA made a valid decision to decertify Steve in the context of a well recognised international system. NASAA operates a system of certification audited by AQIS and complies with an organic standard likewise signed off by AQIS. This system and standard is used by Australia for third party government to government recognition of organic product exported from Australia.”
“Most of Asia requires GM free organic product and this is rapidly becoming Australia’s most important organic and clean and green market place.”
“The Safe Food Foundation will continue to raise funds to support Steve through the appeal process and beyond if required”, said Scott Kinnear.
More information Scott Kinnear, director, Safe Food Foundation 0419 881 729 www.safefoodfoundation.org