Third Review of the National Gene Technology Scheme

The Third Review (the Review) of the National Gene Technology Scheme (the Scheme) was conducted by a collaboration of Commonwealth, state and territory officials on behalf of all Australian governments, assisted by an independent Expert Advisory Panel.

Page last updated: 20 November 2018

Outcomes of the Review

The Third Review (the Review) of the National Gene Technology Scheme (the Scheme) was conducted by a collaboration of Commonwealth, state and territory officials on behalf of all Australian governments, assisted by an independent Expert Advisory Panel.

The Legislative and Governance Forum on Gene Technology (the Forum), comprising Commonwealth, state and territory Ministers, met on 11 October 2018 to endorse the review report. The Forum endorsed the review report and its 27 recommendations and agreed they should be implemented in line with a forward action plan. The Forum noted that implementation would include further stakeholder consultation opportunities.

Key documents can be accessed below:


Table of Contents:


Background

The intergovernmental Gene Technology Agreement requires that reviews of the National Gene Technology Scheme (the Scheme) are undertaken regularly. The first review was held in 2006, with a second ‘lighter touch’ review held in 2011.

The ministerial forum with responsibility for oversight of the Scheme, the Legislative and Governance Forum on Gene Technology (the Forum), announced the Third Review in July 2017.

The Third Review was designed to be forward looking, to ensure the scheme remains effective, agile, supports innovation into the future, and continues to meet the objective of the Act which is to:

" protect the health and safety of people and to protect the environment by identifying risks posed by or as a result of gene technology, and by managing those risks through regulating certain dealings with GMOs”

Terms of reference for the review can be accessed below.

Led by the Gene Technology Standing Committee (GTSC), the Review was well-consulted with 323 submissions from research institutions, industry, government, non-government organisations and consumers.

A final report outlining 27 recommendations was endorsed by all Australian governments through the Forum on 11 October 2018. A Communique has been issued by the Forum.

The Forum agreed to a forward-work program, the review Action Plan, which outlines the implementation of Review recommendations.

The Action Plan demonstrates governments’ commitment to stakeholders to implement recommendations in a coordinated and consultative way, showing the indicative timing and sequence of implementation.


Consultation Process

The Consultation for the Third Review was organised in three key phases aimed at identifying key issues for consideration, collaboratively exploring policy solutions to these issues, and finally providing an opportunity to comment on the findings:

Phase One - Written Submissions - (10 weeks)

  • 25 July – 29 September 2017: Phase One gained an understanding of key issues to be addressed through the review by seeking input from stakeholders (through a written submission process), and examining input into other reports and reviews (including the Productivity Commission report on Regulation of Australian Agriculture and the House of Representatives Smart farming – Inquiry into agricultural innovation).

Phase Two - Explore options and possible policy solutions (5 weeks)

  • Open consultation 6 November – 15 December 2017: using the input from Phase One, the Review engaged collaboratively with stakeholders (through issues papers, workshops, forums, surveys, targeted meetings, market research and written submissions ) to explore options and develop solutions to the issues captured.

Phase Three - Preliminary Report (9 weeks)

  • Open consultation 28 March - 24 May 2018: taking into account Phase One and Two considerations, present findings for stakeholder comment - feedback was provided through the online submission process.

Expert Advisory Panel Appointment

The Legislative and Governance Forum on Gene Technology (LGFGT, the Forum) appointed four technical advisors, Ms Claire Noone, Prof Ian Small, Prof David Tscharke and Dr Mark Tizard, to the Third Gene Technology Scheme Review Expert Advisory Panel (EAP).

As outlined in their biographies, these individuals brought specific expertise across key areas including environment, biology, ethics, law, gene technology and regulation.

The EAP members provided technical advice to inform the review process and assist in understanding the issues raised.


Webinars:

On 28 November and 6 December 2017, two scheduled webinars provided a broad range of stakeholders the opportunity to participate in online discussion, and capture potential solutions to the issues identified within Phase 1 consultation.

Throughout the webinars, stakeholders interacted with members of the Expert Advisory Panel (EAP) through the ‘live chat’ functionality. The objective was to provide opportunities for participants to clarify their understanding of the questions posed in the consultation paper, prior to submitting their feedback.

Should you have missed the opportunity to participate, a recording of the webinar is available for your viewing. Please note that live Q&A/interaction with EAP members is no longer available.


Key Documents

The Third Review of the Gene Technology Scheme - Review Report

The Third Review of the Gene Technology Scheme – Forum endorsed Action Plan

The Third Review of the Gene Technology Scheme - Preliminary Report

Submissions to Consultations

Consultation Documents

Terms of Reference of the Review


Ministerial Forum Communiqués

Communiqués of the Legislative and Governance Forum on Gene Technology are published below:

11 October 2018

The Joint Communique from the Legislative and Governance Forum on Gene Technology: Meeting outcomes from 11 October 2018

25 July 2017

The Joint Communique from the Legislative and Governance Forum on Gene Technology on 25 July 2017 initiates the Third Review.


Contact information

Please email the Gene Technology Secretariat or telephone 02 6289 2033 should you have any questions about the review or implementation processes.


Further Information

To ensure you’re kept up to date on the outcomes of the review and progress of implementation activities, please subscribe by clicking on the subscribe button.