Legislative Council: Thursday, February 09, 2023


Gene Technology (Adoption of Commonwealth Amendments) Amendment Bill

Second Reading

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (16:34): I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

I seek leave to have the second reading explanation and explanation of clauses inserted in Hansard without my reading them.

Leave granted.

The Bill before the Legislative Council seeks to amend the Gene Technology Act 2001 to adopt future amendments to the Commonwealth gene technology legislation by regulation.

The Bill intends to prevent any future instances where there are inconsistencies between the South Australian legislation and the National Gene Technology Scheme.

The National Gene Technology Scheme is administered in each Australian jurisdiction through their respective laws, and each jurisdiction is committed to mirroring the legislation of the Commonwealth to ensure consistency.

Currently, South Australia must undertake a full legislative process every time that there is an amendment to the Commonwealth legislation. This process allows for inconsistencies between the regulatory requirements of South Australia and the Commonwealth.

Applying an adoption by regulation process to the South Australian gene technology legislation would mean that future changes to the commonwealth legislation would be considered by the South Australian government as amendment of act regulations.

This will provide the opportunity to adopt, not adopt, or adopt with modification, any changes to the Commonwealth gene technology laws.

Parliament would still retain the right to review and disallow the regulations, with changes only able to be made to the Commonwealth legislation after consideration by the Gene Technology Forum, of which I am the South Australian representative, and following full public consultation.

This process allows for objectionable amendments to be disallowed and ensures that scrutiny is still able to be applied by this Parliament.

The Gene Technology (Adoption of Commonwealth Amendments) Amendment Bill 2022 will ensure that regulatory requirements remain consistent, and intends to support clinicians, researchers, industry, transport companies and farmers who deal with gene technology by ensuring that we are aligned with the rest of the nation.

Aligning state and national gene technology provisions will improve consistency and help support innovation, as well as ensure that South Australia is in line with the nation.

I note that a similar Bill was introduced late in the last Parliament, and received bipartisan support. I look forward to this piece of legislation receiving similar support.

I commend the Bill to Members.


Part 1—Preliminary

1—Short title

This clause is formal.

Part 2—Amendment of Gene Technology Act 2001

2—Insertion of section 5A

This clause inserts new section 5A which provides that the Governor may, by regulation, amend the Gene Technology Act 2001 to give effect to an amendment to the Gene Technology Act 2000 of the Commonwealth made by the Commonwealth Parliament. The Governor must be satisfied that an amendment that corresponds, or substantially corresponds, to the Commonwealth amendment should be made to the Gene Technology Act 2001.

In making a regulation under proposed new section 5A, the Governor may make any additional provision considered by the Governor to be necessary to ensure that the Commonwealth amendment has proper effect under the law of South Australia.

A regulation made under proposed new section 5A may take effect from the day of the commencement of the Commonwealth amendment, including a day that is earlier than the day of the regulation's publication in the Gazette.

Debate adjourned on motion of Hon. L.A. Henderson.