The Gene Technology Regulator
The Gene Technology Regulator is an independent statutory office holder responsible for administering the Gene Technology Act 2000 (the Act) and corresponding state and territory laws. The Regulator is appointed by the governor-general only with the agreement of the majority of all jurisdictions.
The current Regulator is Dr Raj Bhula. She has over 20 years’ experience in the regulation of pesticides in Australia.
As an Executive Director at the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority, she led the Pesticides Program and the Scientific Assessment and Chemical Review Program for almost 10 years. Dr Bhula was heavily involved in the development of technical policy and scientific risk assessment methodologies. She also contributed to international expert committees and technical groups such as the Pesticides Working Group at the OECD and the Codex Committee for Pesticide Residues.
Dr Bhula joined the Australian Public Service after completing a Ph.D in Chemistry and over 6 years of postdoctoral research into bioinorganic chemistry and drug design in the UK, New Zealand and Australia. She is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Under Dr Bhula, the OGTR has made significant contributions to the Third Review of the Gene Technology Scheme. This program is modernising and future-proofing the scheme for the regulation of gene technology and genetically modified organisms.
The Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) supports the Regulator. The OGTR and its staff are part of the Department of Health.
The Regulator’s roles and functions
The Regulator has specific responsibility to protect the health and safety of people, and to protect the environment, by:
- identifying risks posed by or as a result of gene technology
- managing those risks through regulating certain dealings with genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Under section 27 of the Act, the Regulator (through the OGTR) also:
- provides information and advice to the public about the regulation of GMOs
- provides advice to the Gene Technology Minister’s Meeting (GTMM) about the effectiveness of the legislative framework for regulating GMOs, including possible amendments of relevant legislation
- promotes the harmonisation of risk assessments of GMOs and genetically modified products by regulatory agencies
- monitors international practice in the regulation of GMOs
- maintains links with international organisations that regulate gene technology and with agencies that regulate GMOs in countries outside Australia.
Gene Technology Regulator Statement of Intent
The Statement of Intent outlines the activities of the Regulator and the OGTR.
Minister’s Letter of Expectations
The Letter of Expectations lays out the Minister’s expectations of the Regulator. It assists with the Australian Government’s commitment to effective governance and performance of the OGTR.