24 July 2009

Issue of Licence DIR 095 To BSES For A Limited And Controlled Release Of GM Sugarcane

The Gene Technology Regulator has made a decision to issue a licence in respect of application DIR 095 from BSES Limited (BSES). The applicant has received approval for the limited and controlled release of up to 12,500 sugarcane lines genetically modified for altered plant growth, enhanced drought tolerance, enhanced nitrogen use efficiency, altered sucrose accumulation, or improved cellulosic ethanol production from sugarcane biomass. The release is expected to take place at six BSES stations in the Queensland local government areas of Moreton Bay, Bundaberg, Mackay, Burdekin and Cairns on a maximum total area of 21 ha between August 2009 and August 2015. None of the GM sugarcane plants will be permitted to be used as human food or animal feed.

The decision to issue the licence was made after extensive consultation on the Risk Assessment and Risk Management Plan (RARMP) with the public, State and Territory governments, Australian Government agencies, the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts and the Gene Technology Technical Advisory Committee and relevant local councils, as required by the Gene Technology Act 2000 and corresponding State and Territory laws.

Issues relating to the health and safety of people and the protection of the environment raised during the consultation process on this application were considered in finalising the RARMP and in making the decision to issue the licence.

The Executive Summary, Technical Summary and complete finalised RARMP, together with a set of Questions and Answers on this decision and a copy of the licence, can be obtained on-line from the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator’s website or requested via the contacts detailed below.

The Office of the Gene Technology Regulator, MDP 54 GPO Box 9848 Canberra ACT 2601
Telephone: 1800 181 030 Facsimile: 02 6271 4202 E-mail: ogtr@health.gov.au Website: www.ogtr.gov.au