The Act established two statutory committees to provide advice to the Regulator and the Gene Technology Ministerial Council, namely:
- Gene Technology Technical Advisory Committee (GTTAC)
- Gene Technology Ethics and Community Consultative Committee (GTECCC).
The then Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing, Senator the Hon Jan McLucas, made appointments to the two gene technology advisory committees in January 2008 for a three-year term ending January 2011. Senator McLucas also appointed a toxicologist to GTTAC in November 2008.
Gene Technology Technical Advisory Committee
GTTAC’s functions, as set out in section 101 of the Act, are to provide scientific and technical advice, on the request of the Regulator or the Ministerial Council, on gene technology, GMOs, GM products, applications made under the Act, the biosafety aspects of gene technology and the need for policy principles, policy guidelines, codes of practice, technical and procedural guidelines in relation to GMOs and GM products and the content of such principles and codes. GTTAC met twice during 2009–10 (see Table 21).
Table 21: Attendance at GTTAC meetings during 2009–10
|Meeting date||No. of GTTAC members in attendancea|
|14 October 2009||17|
|10 May 2010||15|
Note: a includes the expert adviser
In addition, GTTAC members were consulted on three other occasions through provision of out-of-session packages for comment.
Chair of GTTAC
Prof John Rasko, BSc (Med), MBBS (Hons), PhD, FRCPA, FRACP, Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Sydney: has relevant skills and experience in molecular biology, virology, risk assessment, clinical medicine, biochemistry, animal biology and immunology. He is Director of the Cell and Molecular Therapy Unit, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, and Head of the Gene and Stem Cell Therapy Program, Centenary Institute of Cancer Medicine and Cell Biology. Since 2002 he has been a member of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and Cancer Council Grant Review Panels, and a leading member of the Leukaemia Foundation of New South Wales Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee. He has been a member of GTTAC since 2002.
Members of GTTAC
Table 22: Members of GTTAC, as at 30 June 2010
|Dr Lesley Ashton||Group Leader, Molecular Epidemiology Group, Children’s Cancer Institute Australia. Cross member with GTECCC (New South Wales)|
|Professor Robert Birch||Professor of Plant Molecular Biology, School of Life Sciences, University of Queensland (Queensland)|
|Mr Richard Davies||Managing Director, CEO Partnerships (Victoria)|
|Professor Peter Gresshoff||Director, ARC Centre of Excellence for Integrative Legume Research, the University of Queensland (Queensland)|
|Dr Richard Groves||Honorary Research Fellow, CSIRO Plant Industry (Australian Capital Territory)|
|Professor Geoff Gurr||Professor of Applied Ecology, Charles Sturt University (New South Wales)|
|Dr Jay Hetzel||Managing Director, Byron Cattle Pty Ltd. (New South Wales)|
|Associate Professor Gordon Howarth||Cancer Council South Australia Research Fellow, School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, University of Adelaide; Senior Research Scientist, Women’s and Children’s Hospital (South Australia)|
|Dr John Manners||Assistant Chief, CSIRO Plant Industry (Queensland)|
|Professor Oliver Mayo||Research Fellow, CSIRO Division of Livestock Industries (South Australia)|
|Mrs Pam Moore||Past State Agricultural Environmental Officer, Country Women’s Association of NSW. Layperson appointed under Section 100 (6) of the Act (New South Wales)|
|Dr Robert Moore||Project Leader, Australian Animal Health Laboratory, CSIRO (Victoria)|
|Professor Stephen Powles (Expert Adviser)||Research Director, Western Australia Herbicide Resistance Initiative, University of Western Australia. Expert Adviser on GTTAC (Western Australia)|
|Professor Brian Priestly||Director, Australian Centre for Human Health Risk Assessment, Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, The Alfred Hospital (Victoria)|
|Dr Paul Reddell||Chief Scientific Officer, EcoBiotics Ltd. (Queensland)|
|Dr Nancy Schellhorn||Research Scientist/Team Leader Spatial Ecology, CSIRO Division of Entomology (Queensland)|
|Dr Jason Smythe||Chief Scientific Officer, Benitec Limited (Victoria)|
|Associate Professor Paul Young||Reader/Group Leader, University of Queensland (Queensland)|
|Dr Peter Young||Managing Director, Q-Vax Pty Ltd. (Queensland)|
Gene Technology Ethics and Community Consultative Committee
GTECCC’s functions are set out in section 107 of the Act. They are to provide advice, at the request of the Regulator or the GTMC, on ethical issues relating to gene technology and on matters of general concern identified by the Regulator relating to applications made under the Act, community consultation about the process for applications for licences covering dealings that involve the intentional release of a GMO into the environment, risk communication matters relating to dealings that involve intentional release of a GMO into the environment, matters of general concern relating to GMOs and the need for policy principles, policy guidelines, codes of practice, technical and procedural guidelines relating to GMOs and GM products and the content of such principles and codes. GTECCC met once during 2009–10 (see Table 23)1.
Table 23: Attendance at GTECCC meetings during 2009–10
|Meeting date||No. of GTECCC members in attendance|
|18 February 2010||9|
In addition, GTECCC members were consulted on one other occasion through provision of an out-of-session package for comment.
Chair of GTECCC
Professor Donald Chalmers LLB, LLM, Professor of Law at the University of Tasmania, former Dean of the Faculty of Law and Head of the Law School, University of Tasmania: Professor Chalmers was Law Reform Commissioner in Tasmania (1991–97) and has authored or contributed to a number of government reports, books on various aspects of law and major legal treatises. In 1985 he chaired the Tasmanian Inquiry into Artificial Conception and in 1995 chaired the Commonwealth Ministerial Review of the National Institutional Ethics Committee System.
Professor Chalmers has had significant involvement with a number of committees dealing with genetics, and is the recipient of a number of ARC grants to research legal and ethical implications of developments in genetics. Since 1999 he has chaired the Australian Red Cross Human Research Ethics Committee, and since 2004 has been a member of the Scientific Review Panel of Genome Canada. He has also been Deputy Chair of the NHMRC Licensing Committee since 2003, and a member of the NHMRC Human Genetics Advisory Committee from 2006.
Professor Chalmers was also Chair of the former GTEC and GTCCC.
Members of GTECCC
Table 24: Members of GTECCC, as at 30 June 2010
|Associate Professor Rachel Ankeny||Senior Lecturer, School of History and Politics, University of Adelaide (South Australia)|
|Dr Lesley Ashton||Group Leader, Molecular Epidemiology Group, Children’s Cancer Institute Australia. Cross member with GTTAC (New South Wales)|
|Mrs Jill Boehm OAM||Director, Cancer Institute NSW and Cancer Council NSW (New South Wales)|
|Reverend Dr John Fleming||President, Campion College Australia (New South Wales)|
|Mr Eric Lockett||Research Forester, Community Representative (Tasmania)|
|Ms Gayle McNaught||National Public Relations and Media Manager, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (New South Wales)|
|Ms Toni Meek||Manager Community Engagement, Yarra Valley Water (Victoria)|
|Dr Vaughan Monamy||Course Coordinator/Senior Lecturer, Environmental Science Program, School of Arts and Sciences, Australian Catholic University (New South Wales)|
|Ms Roma O’Callaghan||Manager People and Organisation Development and Acting Manager Governance, Yarra City Council (Victoria)|
|Mr Bob Phelps||Executive Director, Gene Ethics Network (Victoria)|
|Dr Nikolajs Zeps||Research Manager, Radiation Oncology, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital. Cross member with the National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC’s) Australian Health Ethics Committee (Western Australia)|
Remuneration and allowances for committee members
The Remuneration Tribunal is an independent statutory body that determines the remuneration and allowances for all members of OGTR committees. Committee members are part-time office holders for the purposes of the Remuneration Tribunal and are paid in accordance with the current determination for part-time office holders.
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