Description: Health

Invitation to comment on a genetically modified (GM) wheat field trial

Australia’s gene technology regulatory system is designed to protect the health and safety of people and the environment by identifying risks posed by, or as a result of, gene technology and managing those risks.

The Gene Technology Regulator is currently assessing licence application DIR 165 from the University of Melbourne. The application is for a field trial (limited and controlled release) of wheat plants genetically modified for altered iron uptake, transport and bioavailability. The purpose of the field trial is to gather research and regulatory data under field conditions.

The application proposes to plant up to 10 field trial sites per year, with a maximum combined area of 20 ha per year, between April 2019 and December 2023. The trial sites could be located in Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia and South Australia. The GM wheat grown in this field trial would not be used for human food or animal feed.

A consultation Risk Assessment and Risk Management Plan (RARMP) has been prepared, which concludes that the proposed release would pose negligible risk to human health and safety or to the environment. A range of draft licence conditions would limit the size, locations and duration of the release, as well as restrict the spread and persistence of the GMOs and the introduced genetic material.

The Regulator welcomes written submissions in order to finalise the RARMP, which will then inform the decision on whether or not to issue the licence. The consultation RARMP and related documents can be obtained from the OGTR website under What’s New or by contacting the Office. Please quote application DIR 165 in any correspondence.

Submissions should be received by 13 March 2019.

Office of the Gene Technology Regulator, MDP 54, GPO BOX 9848 CANBERRA ACT 2601

Telephone: 1800 181 030 E-mail:

OGTR website ­