WA farmers could get compensation for cross-contamination of genetically modified crops
West Australian farmers whose crops are contaminated by genetically modified material could soon receive compensation for economic losses.
The standing committee on environment and public affairs will conduct a parliamentary inquiry into possible compensation schemes for costs incurred by farmers in cases of GM cross-contamination.
The inquiry was sparked by a petition from European consumer rights organisation Foodwatch, submitted by upper house Greens member Diane Evers in January.
“WA farmers should not lose their right to sell non-GM crops at a higher price due to the actions of another grower,” Ms Evers said on Thursday.
She said the committee had stated its intention to consider broader matters outside the terms of the petition.
The petition follows the case of Kojonup farmer Steve Marsh, who lost organic certification over most of his land after GM canola blew over from his neighbour’s farm in 2010.
Mr Marsh took his compensation claim all the way to the High Court but it was rejected, leaving him to pay his and his neighbour Michael Baxter’s court costs.
Ms Evers said the case proved the rights of non-GM farmers, who outnumber farmers growing GM, were not sufficiently protected by the law.
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