Monitoring and Compliance Strategy

The aim of OGTR monitoring and compliance activities is to ensure that dealings with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) comply with legislative obligations and are consistent with the object of the Gene Technology Act 2000 (the Act):
      ‘to protect the health and safety of people, and to protect the environment, by identifying risks posed by or as a result of gene technology, and by managing those risks through regulating certain dealings with GMOs’.
Inspections are undertaken in accordance with the Act (Cth) and corresponding state and territory legislation. The inspections focus on management of licensed dealings at field trial sites and within containment facilities certified by the Gene Technology Regulator to ensure:
  • the dissemination of a GMO and its genetic material is restricted
  • the persistence of a GMO in the environment is restricted
  • the containment of GMOs for dealings not involving intentional release
  • effective management of GMOs is maintained.
This is achieved through:
  • routine inspections including spot checks; and
  • audits, practice reviews, investigations and related enforcement activities.


Routine inspections of field trials and contained dealings (carried out in certified laboratories and other containment facilities) are conducted to ensure compliance with licence and certification conditions. These inspections include announced inspections and unannounced spot checks.

The OGTR strategy for conducting inspections draws on accumulated operational experience and risk profiling in relation to compliance. For example, OGTR field trial inspections coincide, where possible, with periods or circumstances when non-compliance with licence conditions designed to restrict the spread and persistence of the GMOs are more likely to occur (for example, during flowering and harvest of GM crops). Post-harvest monitoring continues until the site is free of volunteers.

A minimum of 20 per cent of field trial sites are inspected each year. To achieve this goal a minimum of five per cent of current trial sites and five per cent of trial sites subject to post-harvest monitoring are inspected each quarter.

The inspection of contained dealings involves inspection of certified physical containment (PC) facilities under Dealings Not Involving Intentional Release (DNIRs) licences and Notifiable Low Risk Dealings (NLRDs). For monitoring purposes, certified facilities are grouped into higher and lower containment types. PC4, PC3 and PC2 large-scale laboratories are categorised as higher-level containment facilities and the remaining facility types are categorised as lower-level containment facilities. At least 20% of higher-level physical containment facilities are monitored annually. As well as examining the integrity of the physical structure of the facility, inspections cover the general work practices used in handling GMOs.Top of Page

Practice Reviews

The OGTR may initiate Practice Reviews in response to observations made during monitoring activities, or to follow up incident reports that may relate to non-compliance with licence conditions by accredited organisations. The objective of Practice Reviews is to determine if licence conditions can be, and are being, effectively implemented.

An accredited organisation may request a Practice Review to assess the effectiveness of systems used by its IBC(s) to ensure that dealings are being conducted in accordance with the Act.

The primary focus of the review process is to determine whether or not practices being used pose potential human health or environmental risks that require implementation of any management actions. In certain instances, where a suspected non-compliance with the Act is identified, the issue may be referred for investigation.


Audits can be initiated by the OGTR or at the request of an accredited organisation. An audit can entail:
  • documentary evidence
  • observations
  • assessments of procedures and practices.
These activities are conducted to:
  • verify that an accredited organisation has relevant and effective management procedures and practices to meet requirements under the Act, including accreditation requirements, guidelines and any licence conditions applicable to a GMO dealing under the Act
  • assess whether or not procedures and practices provide mechanisms to identify and resolve emerging risks
  • where appropriate suggest improvements to procedures and practices.
Audits are an opportunity for accredited organisations and the OGTR to share information to improve the risk management of dealings with GMOs under the Act. Audits may focus on a single dealing, a range of dealings (e.g. dealings with a common host organism or dealings within a common climatic zone), the activity of an organisation across a range of dealings, or an activity common to a range of organisations.


An investigation is an inquiry into a suspected non-compliance with the Act (Cth) and corresponding state laws with the aim of gathering evidence. An investigation may be initiated: as a consequence of monitoring by the OGTR; self-reporting by an accredited organisation; or by third party reporting.

Quarterly activities reports

Quarterly activities report for October-December 2016 (PDF 29 KB)
Quarterly activities report for October-December 2016 (DOCX 32 KB)

Quarterly activities report for July-September 2016 (PDF 23 KB)
Quarterly activities report for July-September 2016 (DOCX 31 KB)

Quarterly activities report for April-June 2016 (PDF 22 KB)
Quarterly activities report for April-June 2016 (DOCX 28 KB)

Quarterly activities report for January-March 2016 (PDF 22 KB)
Quarterly activities report for January-March 2016 (DOCX 28 KB)

Quarterly activities report for October-December 2015 (PDF 23 KB)
Quarterly activities report for October-December 2015 (DOCX 29 KB)
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