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Parliamentary Committees asked to examine law on transgenic animals and plants



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The Hon. Barry O. Jones Minister for Science, Customs and Small Business.

Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Science and Technology.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE 7 SEPTEMBER 1989 119/89

PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEES ASKED TO EXAMINE LAW ON TRANSGENIC ANIMALS AND PLANTS

The Minister for Science, Customs and Small Business, Barry

Jones, has asked Parliamentary Committees to examine any

environmental and ethical concerns which may arise from the use

of genetic manipulation of plants or animals. The appropriateness of existing Commonwealth and State legal frameworks will be an important consideration.

'There are evident potential benefits from this technology but concerns have been expressed overseas about some aspects of the

development of "transgenic" plants and animals,' Mr Jones said.

'It seemed appropriate to ask the House of Representatives Committees on Industry, the Environment and Legal and

Constitutional Affairs to set up a working group to invite submissions from interested parties.

'The Genetic Manipulation Advisory Committee (GMAC), the Patents Office and CSIRO will be able to provide technical advice to the Committee.

'The reference has been sent with the agreement of the other

Ministers with responsibility in the area - Senators Button and Richardson, Mr Kerin and Mr West.

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY ivliCAH

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'The working group will be well placed to examine issues. The Government wants to ensure that the arrangements it has put in place to date adequately address the major issues. It also

wants to ensure that there is intelligent anticipation of future

issues and a balanced response, which avoids the extremes of

over reacting or under reacting'.

'Most important, we have to increase our knowledge and understanding of a difficult area in which, as a community, we

need to be better informed'.

CANBERRA Contact: Dr Michael Pitman

Chief Science Advisor

' (062) 761910 (W)