GENE TECHNOLOGY LEGISLATION & our Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)

Intoduction and Purpose of the Legislation

The Gene Technology Act 2000 and Gene Technology Regulations 2001 came into effect on the 21 June 2001. Amendments to the Act and Regulations commenced on 1 July 2007.

The objective of the Act is to protect the health and safety of people and the environment, by identifying risks posed by, or as a result of, gene technology and by managing those risks through regulating certain dealings and activities with genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Click here for access to the Act and Regulations.

Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR)

The Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) has been established within the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing to provide administrative support to the Gene Technology Regulator. The OGTR has legislative power to enforce requirements where work involving certain dealings with gene technology is being undertaken. For further details regarding the OGTR please refer to the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator website.

Definitions

Genetically Modified Organism (GMO)
a) an organism that has been modified by gene technology; or
b) an organism that has inherited particular traits from an organism (the initial organism), being traits that occurred in the initial organism because of gene technology; or
c) anything declared by the regulations to be a genetically modified organism or that belongs to a class of things declared by the regulations to be genetically modified organisms.

A "dealing" in relation to a GMO
a) conduct experiments with the GMO;
b) make, develop, produce or manufacture the GMO;
c) breed the GMO;
d) propagate the GMO;
e) use the GMO in the course of manufacture of a thing that is not the GMO;
f) grow, raise or culture the GMO;
g import the GMO;
h) transport the GMO;
i)dispose of the GMO;

and includes the possession, supply or use of the GMO.

University of Sydney Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)

Any University staff or student wishing to undertake a project/dealing involving GMOs must apply to the University of Sydney Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) for approval. You must not obtain or work with any GMOs without IBC approval. This includes not accepting GMOs from third parties or outside collaborators without IBC approval.

While the 2007 Amendments removed the legal requirement to inform the OGTR of certain dealings with GMOs, it is still a University requirement that all projects involving GMOs are submitted to the IBC for approval.

The appropriate application form must be submitted to the IBC and you must have written approval from the IBC prior to commencing work on the GMO.

Applications to the IBC

The IBC meets quarterly. Applications must be submitted at least 3 weeks prior to the meeting date to allow for applications to be photocopied and distributed to committee members for their consideration. All electronically signed application forms should be submitted to the University's Biosafety Advisor by email.

References
COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA Gene Technology Act 2000
COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA Gene Technology Regulations 2001