On 28 November 2016, the Gene Technology Regulator invited submissions on the consultation version of the Risk Assessment and Risk Management Plan (RARMP) for licence application DIR 149 from Nuseed Pty Ltd.

The Regulator has now issued a licence in response to application DIR 149, authorising the limited and controlled release (field trial) of Juncea canola genetically modified (GM) for altered oil content.

The release is authorised to take place between April 2017 and May 2022, with trial sites selected from 102 possible local government areas in NSW, Victoria and Queensland. The trial will be conducted at a maximum of 4 sites of up to 2 hectares (ha) per site in 2017, 10 sites of up to 5 ha per site in 2018 and 15 sites of up to 10 ha per site in each subsequent year. The GM Juncea canola would not enter the human food or animal feed supply but some GM material may be used for small-scale experimental animal feeding studies.

The Regulator’s decision to issue the licence was made after consultation on the RARMP with the public, State and Territory governments, Australian Government agencies, the Minister for the Environment, the Gene Technology Technical Advisory Committee and local councils, as required by the Gene Technology Act 2000 and the corresponding State and Territory legislation.

The Regulator considered all submissions provided during the consultation process that related to the health and safety of people or the protection of the environment. The comments were considered in the context of current scientific information and used in finalising the RARMP. The finalised RARMP informed the Regulator’s decision to issue the licence.

The finalised RARMP concludes that this limited and controlled release poses negligible risks to people and the environment and does not require specific risk treatment measures. However, licence conditions have been imposed to restrict spread and persistence of the GMOs and their genetic material in the environment and to limit the release in size, location and duration, as these were important considerations in the evaluation process.