Research Division

Working with genetically modified organisms

Any work involving a GMO is called a dealing, and can involve any of the following activities:

  1. conduct experiments with the GMO;
  2. make, develop, produce or manufacture the GMO;
  3. breed the GMO;
  4. propagate the GMO;
  5. use the material in the course of manufacture of a thing that is not the GMO;
  6. grow, raise or culture the GMO;
  7. import the GMO;
  8. transport the GMO;
  9. dispose of the GMO;

and includes the possession, supply or use of the GMO for the purposes of, or in the course of, a dealing mentioned in any of the paragraphs (1) to (9).

Dealings with GMOs must be approved by the University of Tasmania Institutional Biosafety Committee before commencement.

The application form and guidance material for completing an application can be downloaded from the Forms page.

Dealing LevelDefinitionOGTR Licence RequiredContainment Level Required
Exempt DealingActivities with GMOs that have been assessed over time as posing a very low risk (ie. contained research involving very well understood organisms and processes for creating and studying GMOs).No – must be assessed by the University of Tasmania IBC.Yes – PC1 or PC2
Notifiable Low Risk Dealing (NLRD)Activities with GMOs undertaken in containment (ie. not released to the environment) that have been assessed as posing low risk to the health and safety of people and the environment provided certain risk management conditions are met.No – must be assessed by the University of Tasmania IBC and an annual report provided to the OGTR.Yes – PC1 or PC2
Dealing Not Involving Intentional Release (DNIR)Activities with GMOs of a higher risk than NLRDs which are undertaken in containment.Yes, applications must be reviewed by the IBC and a risk assessment and management plan (RARMP) prepared prior to a licence decision by the OGTR.Yes, usually PC2 or greater. Other conditions will apply.
Dealing Involving Intentional Release (DIR)Activities with GMOs involving an intentional release into the Australian environment. The majority of DIR licences are for field trials or releases of plants, although GM vaccines also fall into the DIR category.Yes, applications must be reviewed by the IBC, RARMP prepared, consultation on RARMP and licence decision by the OGTR.Licence conditions apply (Note: agricultural DIRs are not currently permitted in Tasmania)

Additionally, importing a GMO from interstate and overseas also requires compliance with biosecurity regulations. Visit the biosecurity page for information on how to obtain an Import Permit.

Dealings with GMOs classified as Exempt or NLRD do not require case-by-case assessment by the OGTR, and are instead reviewed and endorsed by the University of Tasmania Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC).

Note: It is an offence under the Gene Technology Act 2000 if NLRDs are not undertaken in accordance with the Gene Technology Regulations 2001 (“the Regulations”).

Schedule 2 of the Regulations describes the types of dealings with GMOs that are classified as Exempt Dealings. The only legislative requirement for Exempt Dealings is that they must not involve and intentional release of a GMO into the Australian environment. The University of Tasmania IBC considers that Exempt Dealings should be conducted in a certified PC1 or PC2 laboratory to meet this requirement. Dealings which are classified as Exempt are listed on the application form, and this information can also be found on the OGTR website.

Schedule 3 of the Regulations describes the types of dealings with GMOs that are classified as NLRDs. This information is included on the application form, and can also be found on the OGTR website. These dealings must be conducted in a certified PC1 or PC2 laboratory.

DNIR and DIR applications should be discussed with the Biosafety and Biosecurity Officer or the IBC before preparing an application.

Please note that there are no PC3 or PC4 facilities in Tasmania, and as such work with Risk Group 3 or Risk Group 4 organisms at the University of Tasmania is strictly prohibited.