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The Institutional Bio-safety Committee (IBC) is composed of people with expertise in the management of genetically modified organisms (GMO) safety, and includes a layperson and independent member.
The committee's role is to assess, review and approve certain kinds of GM work, for example by advising on the identification and management of the risks associated with dealings with GMOs undertaken by the organisation, including the containment of GMOs and providing an interface with the Office of Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR).
The IBC are also responsible for conducting inspection of OGTR-certified facilities to ensure that they meet with guidelines e.g. Physical Containment Level 2 laboratories (PC2 labs).
There is a national scheme for the regulation of GMOs in Australia. The aims of the scheme are to protect the health and safety of Australians and protect the environment, by identifying any risks of gene technology, and to manage those risks by regulating dealings with genetically modified organisms.
The Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) oversees the regulation of GMOs in Australia, under the Gene Technology Act 2000. The legislation regulates all dealings (e.g. research, manufacture, production, commercial release and import) with live viable organisms that have been modified by techniques of gene technology, including the progeny (or descendants) of such GMOs which also share a genetically modified trait. The legislation will also regulate some GM products, but only where the products are not regulated by an existing agency. Further information can be obtained from the OGTR website.
The Institutional Bio-safety Committee Terms of Reference (docx, 61kb) provide the framework within which the committee operates.
All members of the IBC shall have knowledge and expertise which is appropriate to the functions of the IBC. Download a list of the Current IBC Members (docx, 41kb).
The legislation revolves around a system of prohibitions and approvals. Every dealing with a GMO will need to be licensed by the Regulator, unless the dealing is an exempt dealing, a notifiable low risk dealings (NLRD) or on the Register of GMOs.
Detailed and up-to-date information on the categories below can be found in the Handbook on the regulation of gene technology in Australia:
For information on the Federation University Australia IBC, process and procedures etc contact:
Fiona Koop - Ethics Officer
Mt Helen Campus
Phone: +613 5327 9765
Associate Professor Peter Aldred
Secretary, Federation University Australia IBC
Phone: +613 5327 9243
Further information on the OGTR and regulation of gene technology in Australia can be obtained from the OGTR website.