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Thursday, 30 June 1994
Page: 2530


Senator COULTER (9.35 p.m.) —If I have followed the explanation correctly, clause 19 provides reasonable public access to plant varieties. Throughout the debate in the committee stage of this bill tonight, the government has been at pains to point out that the genetic material will always be publicly available for non-commercial purposes. Yet Senator Sherry is saying that, in the case of those intermediate varieties, which are not of themselves commercially valuable as final consumer products, genetic material will not be available because this section does not apply to a plant variety in respect of which `the secretary certifies that he or she is satisfied that plants of that variety have no direct use as a consumer product'.

  It seems to me that there is a loophole in the legislation, as I suspected. Genetic material will be very much exclusively tied up, provided it is intermediate to the preparation of some other variety. Therefore, that runs counter to everything that has been said previously with respect to the access of breeders or other members of the public to genetic material for use for other purposes.