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Holding biotech companies responsible

(Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2002 -- CropChoice news) -- Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 09/16/2002: The Australian Democrats will move major changes to the Plant Breeders' Rights Act when it comes before the Senate this week.

The party wants the Act amended to make developers of genetically-modified crops responsible for costs associated with any contamination of non-gm varieties.

Democrats Agriculture spokesman Senator John Cherry says GM companies must be held responsible for their actions. "We want to make sure that if a company releases a genetically-modified crop that results in infestation of a neighboring farmer's property, that that neighboring farmer can be compensated for any losses incurred by no longer being a gm-free area.

"These are very important issues to us and we think before you deal with the issue of economic returns, which is what plant breeders' rights is all about, you should make sure that all the economic costs and benefits have been taken into account."