The Gene Technology Agreement 2001 underpins the scheme. It is an agreement between all Australian governments that supports a nationally consistent regulatory system for gene technology.
The agreement acknowledges the need for a cooperative national legislative scheme, which is:
- consistent with international obligations
- collaborates with relevant product regulators, such as the:
- Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for medicines
- Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) for pesticides and veterinary medicines products.
- was signed by all Australian jurisdictions
- explains the understanding between governments of the nationally consistent regulatory system
- commits state and territory governments to passing and maintaining corresponding laws.
The role of states and territories in the agreement
The scheme is a cooperative arrangement between all Australian governments. The agreement requires each state and territory to have its own legislation on gene technology.
Keeping legislation consistent
States and territories may ask the Australian Government minister responsible for the Gene Technology Act 2000 to declare that their legislation corresponds to the Act. This makes sure that our gene technology laws are nationally consistent.
Declarations give the Gene Technology Regulator powers to administer the gene technology legislation within that state or territory. With a single, independent regulator administering all legislation, this means that:
- the way we apply or enforce rules for genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is consistent
- GMO licence holders have national coverage.
Under the agreement, relevant state and territory agencies have access to all information they may need that is held by the Gene Technology Regulator.
Two committees, established by the agreement, advise the regulator. They are the:
- Gene Technology Technical Advisory Committee
- Gene Technology Ethics and Community Consultative Committee.
Committee appointments are informed by consultation with the states and territories and a majority of jurisdictions must approve the appointment of each committee’s chairperson.