The executive of the Agricultural Biotechnology Council of Australia (ABCA) has announced the appointment of Dr Joe Smith as its new chair.

The organisation said Dr Smith brings high-level regulatory scientific expertise and leadership to the role that will further support its role in providing science-based information about the current and potential benefits of agricultural biotechnology.

As a former national Gene Technology Regulator, CEO of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority and director of the Therapeutic Goods Administration Laboratories, Dr Smith has had an extensive and distinguished career leading key Australian regulatory authorities.

Dr Smith has also been actively engaged in the significant issues of biotechnology and agricultural chemicals regulation through forums such as the OECD, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and World Health Organization. He is also currently President of the International Society for Biosafety Research, an organisation that brings together researchers, technology developers, industry, regulators and non-government organisations to engage in meaningful dialogue about cutting-edge biotechnology and biosafety research, risk analysis, policy, regulation and communication.

“It’s an honour to be able to continue to serve the sector at a time of great opportunity for Australian agriculture and food security,” said Dr Smith.

“It’s vital that the Australian farming sector can access and adopt new technologies in an environment where there is good awareness of the science and realistic appreciation of risk. For this to happen there needs to be open and transparent dialogue.

“At its core, ABCA encourages informed debate about agricultural biotechnology so that the public and particularly primary producers can make well-informed decisions about the future application of biotechnology in Australia,” said Dr Smith.

The ABCA also thanked Mr Ken Matthews AO who has served as its independent chair for eight years.

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