Review of the National Gene Technology Scheme 2017

The intergovernmental Gene Technology Agreement requires that all Australian Governments undertake a review of the National Gene Technology Scheme (the Scheme) every five years. The Legislative and Governance Forum on Gene Technology (the ministerial committee with responsibility for oversight of the Scheme, also known as the LGFGT) has agreed to commence this review in July 2017.

Page last updated: 26 July 2017

Communique/Media Release

The Joint Communique from the Legislative and Governance Forum on Gene Technology (July 2017) outlines the Review.

The Review

The LGFGT endorsed forward looking terms of reference for the Review of the National Gene Technology Scheme (the Review).  The terms of reference consider current developments and techniques, as well as extensions and advancements in gene technology, so the Scheme can accommodate continued technological developments into the future.

The LGFGT comprises Ministers with responsibility for gene technology from the Commonwealth and each State and Territory; from portfolios including health, primary industries, or science and innovation. The Review will be led by a Working Group, comprised of senior government officials supporting the LGFGT.

Two previous reviews in 2006 and 2011 found the Scheme has proven to be a sound and effective regulatory framework with an efficient and effective Regulator.  The Gene Technology Regulator is an independent statutory office holder responsible for administering the Gene Technology Act (2000) and corresponding state and territory laws.

There have been significant advances in technology since the last review in 2011.  Technological advancements now make gene editing inexpensive and easy to use.  These advances present opportunities for Australia, from agricultural uses to medical applications. 

The Review of the Scheme provides the opportunity to develop a blueprint for the regulation of gene technology into the future.  The Review’s terms of reference have been developed to reflect this opportunity.

Terms of Reference

The Review will investigate the National Gene Technology Scheme (the Scheme), including gene technology legislation, the Gene Technology Agreement and its interface with other regulatory schemes.  The Review aims to improve and strengthen the Scheme’s effectiveness, whilst ensuring it is appropriately agile and supports innovation.  The Review will include, but not be limited to, assessing and making recommendations in relation to:

  1. current developments and techniques, as well as extensions and advancements in gene technology to ensure the Scheme can accommodate continued technological development.
  2. existing and potential mechanisms to facilitate an agile and effective Scheme, which will ensure continued protection of health and safety of people and the environment.
  3. the appropriate legislative arrangements to meet the needs of the Scheme, now and into the future, including the Gene Technology Agreement.
  4. funding arrangements to ensure sustainable funding levels and mechanisms are aligned with the level and depth of activity to support the Scheme.

Consultations

The Review will be conducted in consultation with scientific, consumer, health, environmental and industry groups.

Submissions should be lodged via the Open Consultation for the Third Review of the National Gene Technology Scheme on the Citizen Space Consultation Hub.

Submissions are due by 23:59 15 September 2017.

Submissions received after this date may not be considered by the Review.

If you wish to provide a hardcopy submission:
Please complete the Review Submission Cover Sheet and mail to:
Gene Technology Secretariat
Department of Health
MDP 1060
GPO Box 9848
CANBERRA ACT 2601

If you want to be kept up to date on the Review, please subscribe by clicking on the subscribe button.

Contact information

Please email the Review Secretariat should you have any questions on the process.