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Friday, 15 November 2002
Page: 6545

Senator CHERRY (3:30 PM) —by leave—I move Democrat amendments (6) and (7) on sheet 2606:

(6) Schedule 1, page 7 (after line 28), after item 18, insert:

18A Subparagraph 37(2)(b)(i)

After “test growing”, insert “by an independent, qualified person who does not have any financial or contractual links with the applicant or grantee of a PBR”.

(7) Schedule 1, page 7 (after line 28), after item 18, insert:

18B Subparagraph 37(2)(b)(ii)

Repeal the subparagraph.

Amendment (6) deals with PBR applications and test growing. A PBR application may include a requirement for test growing of a plant variety. Currently the test is conducted by a person or persons selected and paid for by the applicant. This amendment requires that the test be conducted by an independent person without contractual relations to the applicant. Once again, this measure is intended to prevent biopiracy and the granting of rights over plant varieties that should not be granted. In a 1998 review of the worldwide patenting of plant varieties, the Rural Advancement Foundation International out of the UK and Heritage Seed Curators Australia prepared a report called Plant breeders wrongs. It examined the worldwide operation of plant breeders rights, and in respect of Australia's record it said:

Of the seven countries studied, it is clear that Australia is the only state whose abuses are so pervasive as to describe the state itself as a predator.

America, according to the RAFI, was a distant second. In our view, this change to the definition of `test growing' will ensure that the system becomes much more robust and independent and that those sorts of claims will not be made about Australia into the future. Amendment (7) is a subsequent amendment, flowing on from amendment (6).