The Victorian Local Governance Association (VLGA) believes local councils can effectively make their municipalities free of genetically modified (GM) crops.
It says local health plans can be altered to make it very difficult for GM crops to be grown or distributed in a region.
The push follows the Victorian Government’s decision to lift a ban on GM canola crops early next year.
The VLGA’s Warren Moloney says councils should inform residents of GM crop trials and use any other method to deter GM products entering their region.
“To look squarely at the labelling of these products as well as to look squarely … at the distribution of the growing of these products throughout their shire, and thirdly and most importantly they can act as a very strong advocate on behalf of their community to the State Government to see if perhaps they could reconsider their position,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Greens are urging Ballarat council to declare the shire a GM-free zone.
The Greens’ candidate for Ballarat at the federal election, Belinda Coates, says the council must play a role in representing the community’s views to the Government.
“[I’m] really upset at the whole process, that it’s just really been pushed through without that consultation in view of the fact that it’s about 90 per cent of the public that are just really not in support of GM, and farming in GM products, so it’s just a slap in the face I think for this decision to be pushed through,” she said.