Review of the Gene Technology Act 2000 (Cth) Submission from the Gene Technology Ethics Committee (gtec)


Recommendation 4: A Re-examination of the Functions of GTEC within the context of the Scope of the Act



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Recommendation 4: A Re-examination of the Functions of GTEC within the context of the Scope of the Act

GTEC recommends that there be consideration of its role, and of sections 111 – 112 to ensure that the composition and function of GTEC is consistent with the scope of the GT Act.




1 b) the definitions in the Act, including of the environment, and the need for the definition of other terms including health

Definition of “environment”


The definition of the “environment” within the GT Act focuses on “ecosystems and their constituent parts” and also the “natural and physical resources” of environments and the landscape. It excludes from the definition of “environment” such matters as “people and their communities”, plus heritage, social, economic and cultural values. GTEC observes that these factors (in addition to the biophysical elements) are included in the definition of the environment within the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth), (s. 528). Their inclusion within the definition of “environment” in the EPBC Act and their exclusion from the definition of “environment” in the GT Act is consistent with the differing objectives and scope of consideration in each statute. Nonetheless, GTEC believes that these additional elements, contained within the EPBC Act and encompassing the concerns of people and communities and the heritage, social, economic and cultural values relating to genetically modified organisms, do need to be considered in the broad framework for decision-making relating to genetically modified organisms. However, GTEC accepts that consideration of values and community should become relevant to the scope of the Act only so far as they relate to the wider context of risk analysis considered by the statutory committees (see Recommendations 2 & 3).


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