9. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) proposes to release up to 190 lines2 of genetically modified (GM) safflower into the environment under limited and controlled conditions.

10. The purpose of the trial is to evaluate the agronomic performance of the GM safflower lines under field conditions. The trial would also generate data to be used in future regulatory submissions. The applicant proposes to grow both GM safflower lines and control non-GM safflower varieties in the trial.

11. The dealings involved in the proposed intentional release include:

  • conducting experiments with the GMOs
  • breeding the GMOs
  • propagating the GMOs
  • growing or culturing the GMOs
  • transporting the GMOs
  • disposing of the GMOs
  • possession, supply or use of the GMOs for any of the purposes above.
12. These dealings are detailed further below.

3.1 The proposed limits of the dealings (size, locations, duration and people)

13. The applicant proposes to grow GM safflower plants over three growing seasons between September 2013 and March 2016.

14. During the first growing season the GMOs would be planted at one site, at the Ginninderra Experiment Station in the ACT. During the second and third growing seasons the GMOs would be planted at up to three sites, at the Ginninderra Experiment Station in the ACT, at the Australian Cotton Research Institute near Narrabri, NSW, and at the Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga, NSW.

15. The area of the trial would be up to 1 hectare (ha) per site per growing season. This is a maximum total planting area of 7 ha over the period of the trial.

16. Only trained and authorised staff would be permitted to deal with the GM safflower. Any other visitors to the site would be accompanied by an authorised CSIRO representative and would not deal with the GMOs.

3.2 The proposed controls to restrict the spread and persistence of the GMOs and their genetic material in the environment

17. The applicant has proposed a number of controls to restrict the spread and persistence of the GM safflower lines and the introduced genetic material in the environment. These include:
  • ensuring that no other safflower crops are grown within 400 m of the trial sites
  • surrounding each site with a 10 m monitoring zone kept bare or planted with vegetation less than 10 cm high
  • while the GM safflower is flowering, inspecting areas within 200 m of the trial sites and destroying any safflower or related species
  • controlling bird access by bird netting or the use of bird scarers
  • controlling any rodent populations by baiting
  • harvesting GM safflower separately to other crops or trials
  • cleaning equipment prior to removal from the site
  • destroying all plant materials not required for testing or future trials
  • promoting germination of residual seed by post-harvest tillage and irrigation
  • post-harvest monitoring of the trial sites for two years and destruction of any volunteer safflower
  • transporting and storing GM material in accordance with the Regulator’s Guidelines for the Transport, Storage and Disposal of GMOs
  • not allowing GM plant material or products to be used for human food or animal feed.
18. Figure 2 shows the proposed site layout, including some of these controls. These controls, and the limits outlined above, have been taken into account in establishing the risk assessment context (this Chapter), and their suitability for containing the proposed release is evaluated in Chapter 3, Section 3.1.1.
This figure illustrates the monitoring zone, isolation zone and exclusion distance to other safflower crops proposed by the applicant for the trial sites. These controls are also listed in paragraph 17.
Figure 2. Proposed trial layout, including some of the controls (not drawn to scale)

2The term ‘line’ is used to denote plants derived from a single plant containing a specific genetic modification resulting from a single transformation event.