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Tuesday, 17 February 1987
Page: 62

To the Honourable the President and members of the Senate in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth that:

The Plant Variety Rights Bill 1986, now before Parliament, should be withdrawn because:

(1) There is growing concern about the economic concentration of the seed industry and the loss of traditional food plant varieties in overseas countries with this legislation.

(2) Genes, seeds and other plant genetic material should remain a public resource.

(3) The demand for uniformity, imposed by P.V.R. legislation, reduces genetic variability and could lead to the loss of traditional genetic material.

(4) P.V.R. will discourage the free exchange of information, seeds and genetic material and is therefore likely to adversely affect Australia's public breeding programmes.

(5) Our choice of food, its quality and nutritional value will increasingly be determined by the interests of large overseas companies rather than those of the Australian consumer.

(6) There is no requirement in the bill for superiority or for merit testing of varieties to protect the interests of our farmers.

(7) The bill can be interpreted to allow the registering of ``discoveries'' of previously unknown Australian native plants, many of which may have great social and/or economic value.

(8) P.V.R. will mean higher costs for the farmer and the consumer and an increased burden on the Australian taxpayer.

Your petitioners humbly pray that Parliament recognise the widespread community opposition to P.V.R. and promote alternative incentives for plant breeding in Australia.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray.