All Australian Governments have agreed to initiate the third review of the National Scheme for the Regulation of Gene Technology (the Review). The Legislative and Governance Forum on Gene Technology, chaired by Commonwealth Assistant Health Minister, Dr David Gillespie, comprises Ministers with portfolio responsibility for gene technology from each state and territory, from portfolios including health, primary industries, or science and innovation.
The Legislative and Governance Forum on Gene Technology oversees the gene technology scheme in Australia. This framework aims to protect the health and safety of people and the environment by identifying and managing risks associated with gene technology. It is a nationally consistent, cooperative scheme involving the Commonwealth and all states and territories. The scheme began on 21 June 2001 with the commencement of the Gene Technology Act 2000, and has been reviewed on two occasions since its commencement; in 2006 and 2011.
Under the Gene Technology Agreement, the Agreement itself, and all state, territory, and Commonwealth legislation that comprise the scheme, are due for review at five yearly intervals. The upcoming review of the scheme will commence in July 2017.
The Review will be led by a working group comprised of senior officials from Commonwealth and state and territory governments, supported by a panel of independent experts.
The Legislative and Governance Forum on Gene Technology endorsed forward looking terms of reference for the Review. The terms of reference consider current developments and techniques, as well as extensions and advancements in gene technology, so that the gene technology scheme is able to accommodate continued technological developments into the future. Consultation with scientific, consumer, health, environmental and industry groups, and the public, will commence in July 2017.
The review of the scheme will build on the work of the 2016-17 Technical Review of the Gene Technology Regulations 2001, currently being undertaken by the Gene Technology Regulator.