The Gene Technology Regulator (the Regulator)The Regulator is an independent statutory office holder responsible for administering the Gene Technology Act 2000 (the Act) and corresponding state and territory laws. The Regulator is appointed by the governor-general only with the agreement of the majority of all jurisdictions.
Dr Raj Bhula is the Gene Technology Regulator, appointed for a period of five years commencing 18 July 2016. . She is responsible for administering the national regulatory system for gene technology as set out in the Act. The OGTR staff are part of the Department of Health.
Dr Bhula comes from a background of over 20 years of experience in the regulation of pesticides in Australia. She worked as the Executive Director of Scientific Assessment and Chemical Review at the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority and Program Manager Pesticides for almost 10 years. Dr Bhula has had experience in representing Australia at international expert committees such as the Codex Committee for Pesticide Residues and contributed to technical groups of the OECD Working Group on Pesticides. Much of this work has included the development of technical policy and risk assessment methodologies.
Prior to joining the public service, Dr Bhula was a research associate and part-time lecturer at the Australian Defence Forces Academy, University of New South Wales in Canberra.
The Regulator’s roles and functionsIn administering the gene technology regulatory system the Regulator has specific responsibility to protect the health and safety of people, and to protect the environment, by identifying risk posed by or as a result of gene technology, and by managing those risks through regulating certain dealings with genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Section 27 of the Act sets out the functions of the Regulator to:
- perform functions in relation to GMO licences as set out in the Act (Part 5), which outlines the licensing system under which a person can apply to the Regulator for a licence authorising dealings with GMOs
- draft policy principles and policy guidelines, as requested by the LGFGT
- codes of practice
- issue technical and procedural guidelines in relation to GMOs
- provide information and advice to
- other regulatory agencies, about GMOs and GM products
- the public, about the regulation of GMOs
- the Legislative Governance Forum on Gene Technology about the
- operations of the Regulator and the Gene Technology Technical Advisory Committee
- effectiveness of the legislative framework for the regulation of GMOs, including in relation to possible amendments of relevant legislation
- undertake or commission research in relation to risk assessment and the biosafety of GMOs
- promote the harmonisation by regulatory agencies of risk assessments relating to GMOs and GM products
- monitor international practice in relation to the regulation of GMOs
- maintain links with international organisations that deal with the regulation of gene technology and with agencies that regulate GMOs in countries outside Australia
- conduct other functions conferred by the Act, the Regulations or any other law, such as
- monitoring and enforcing the legislation