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Increased checks for contaminated berries is a step in the right direction but more must be done

Australian Greens spokesperson on Agriculture Senator Rachel Siewert said today that increased checks on imported berries are welcome but more must be done to strengthen the response to potentially contaminated products entering the country.

“With the recent Hepatitis A scare it is clear that the Department of Agriculture has its hands tied when it comes to ramping up consignment checks for products that continue to come in once a potential contamination has been identified.

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Biosecurity Bill passes without Australian Greens amendments that would have strengthened the much needed legislation

Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert has said the passing of the long anticipated Biosecurity Bill through the Senate today is welcomed but could have been strengthened by 51 amendments proposed by the Australian Greens that weren’t supported.

“The Australian Greens welcome the much needed upgrade of Biosecurity legislation in Australia, this Bill will strengthen biosecurity nationally.   

“The Bill was a significant step forward compared to the previous bill and previous Quarantine Act, but there are still some areas that need to be fixed.

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Greens Senator supports Frack Free Jurien Bay group

As part of a visit to the Mid-West to talk to communities about fracking in Western Australia, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert has expressed her on-going support for the Frack Free Jurien Bay group, saying that she shares their concerns about the impacts of fracking.

"I'm concerned about the on-going exploration and test fracking that is occurring. I'm also concerned that some local governments are not listening to their communities.

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Preventative biosecurity measures must be increased to stop future outbreaks

Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert has welcomed increased emergency funding to handle further detection of Panama disease, Tropical Race 4 (Fusarium wilt) in Queensland, but said more must be done to quickly establish the origins of the disease and increase preventative measures.

“It is crucial that both the State and Federal Government work to deliver emergency support for affected North Queensland producers. Increased funding is a crucial step in the right direction.

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Report into Landcare funding shows continued concern around the organisation’s sustainability

A Senate inquiry report looking into the funding and organisational structure needed to ensure the sustainability of Landcare was last night tabled in the Senate. Greens spokesperson on Agriculture, Senator Rachel Siewert, was on the committee for the inquiry; she today emphasised how important it is that the report be considered for the future of Landcare and natural resource management.

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Greens will support Biodiversity Bill with amendments recommended by RRAT Report

A report on the Biosecurity Bill 2014 by the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee has been tabled today in the Senate.

“The Greens welcome modernising this legislation however we believe it needs to be strengthened. Most importantly the recommendation to enshrine the independence of the Inspector General by removing the powers from the Minister and placing them in a separate statutory body and improving environmental biosecurity.

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Greens welcome initiative that improves transparency between consumers and Australian farmers

Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert has welcomed an initiative by AgConnectWA that uses smartphones to connect consumers with the origin of the product they buy at their local shops.

“It is refreshing to see an innovation that connects consumers with the farmers who produce their product”, said Senator Siewert, spokesperson on Agriculture.

“The quick response codes can be scanned with a smart phone and will be placed on supermarket shelves next to different Australian products.

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Greens table motion calling on increased protection for non-GMO farmers

Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert will today table a motion aimed at protecting non-GMO and organic farmers like Steve Marsh – who recently incurred enormous financial costs as a result of contamination from a neighbouring GM canola farmer.

“My motion will call on the Federal government to implement a national contamination insurance scheme that protects non-GMO farmers like Steve Marsh from future contamination.

“The proposed scheme would be funded through GM crop levies.

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Greens: NT must not go in the opposite direction to Tasmania on fracking

Greens Senator Rachel Siewert has slammed the NT Government approach to fracking and the Hawke Report tabled in the NT Parliament yesterday supporting fracking, saying ‘no regulatory process will ever be able to fully promise that contamination will not occur as a result of fracking in Australia’.

“The report itself identifies the lack of proper regulatory process in the NT”, said Senator Siewert, Greens spokesperson on Agriculture.

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