AusBiotech welcomes court decision

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AusBiotech CEO, Dr Anna Lavelle, has welcomed today’s decision of the Supreme Court of Western Australia Court of Appeal in the Marsh v Baxter case that reaffirms the foundation of cooperative farming, irrespective of farming method.

According to Dr Lavelle, “This verdict reaffirms the importance of allowing farmers the ability to co-exist and choose the crops and production systems that best suits their needs to deliver Australian agricultural produce, whether they are growing organic, GM or conventional crops.

“Australian farmers will now continue to have access to all of the available tools on the farm, including GM varieties, to be able to meet the weed and pest challenges that they often face and can innovate to meet the growing demand for food and fibre.

“Australia needs different areas of agriculture working together and internationally consistent organic marketing rules to avoid disputes such as this,” she said.

Matthew Cossey, Chief Executive of CropLife Australia, described the decision as a victory for common-sense and reconfirms the long-standing tradition of coexistence of all farming methods.

“The decision however reinforces the need for the Federal Government to take urgent action to prevent future unnecessary conflict caused by deliberate misinterpretation of Australia’s organic standards by certifiers behaving more like extreme ideological activists,” said Mr Cossey.

He added, "Activists need to stop exploiting farmers in their ideological games, creating conflict where there is none, and let farmers get on and do what they do best; growing the affordable, sustainable and quality food, feed and fibre we need for our growing population.

“The solution to prevent this from ever happening again is simple; urgently fix the regulations that have allowed extreme elements in the organic industry in Australia to attempt to enforce their self-imposed third party standards onto others that are completely inconsistent with the standards followed in the rest of the world, including Europe. This is a point from which the agriculture sector can move forward,” concluded Mr Cossey.