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Australian Seeds Authority now up-and-running.

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AFFA03/050WT - 7 March 2003

Australian Seeds Authority now up-and-running

A new non-profit, fully incorporated organisation responsible for certifying and testing agricultural seeds - the Australian Seeds Authority Ltd (ASA) - is now fully operational, the Federal Agriculture Minister, Warren Truss, announced today.

Mr Truss said ASA would now provide Australia's seeds industry with a range of services formerly the responsibility of his department - Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry - Australia (AFFA).

"ASA will be responsible for accrediting seed certification and seed testing service providers in Australia, and matters relating to the international seed trade, including schemes run by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA)," Mr Truss said.

ASA will become Australia's National Designated Authority for the OECD seeds schemes, and the Designated Authority under the ISTA.

Mr Truss said ASA was established after extensive consultations and planning involving the Federal and State governments, the Grains Council of Australia (GCA) and the Seed Industry Association of Australia (SIAA).

"The Commonwealth provided $50,000 to help set up the Authority, complemented by contributions from those States and Territories involved in seed certification and accreditation," he said.

Mr Truss emphasised the important role the Authority will play in ensuring a secure and profitable future for Australia's seed industry.

"The Authority provides the ideal platform upon which to base a number of significant initiatives, including an industry-wide quality assurance system, as well as ensuring the continuing technical integrity of the OECD seed schemes.

"It will, over time, begin to assume a wider range of responsibilities, reflecting the industry's changing needs and priorities."

Mr Truss stressed the importance of State-based certification authorities and the ISTA laboratories working closely with ASA to make the new arrangements work.

The Minister thanked industry leaders, officers from AFFA, and other stakeholders involved in helping establish the Authority for their commitment and hard work.

"ASA is an excellent example of the Coalition Government working closely with industry to ensure it has greater self-determination in its day-to-day

affairs and future directions," he said.

Further media inquiries:

Minister Truss' office: Tim Langmead (02) 6277 7520 or 0418 221 433