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 to the role in July 2016 and re-appointed until July 2026.

She comes from a background of over 20 years of experience in the regulation of pesticides in Australia, which includes almost 10 years as an Executive Director at the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority leading the Pesticides Program and the Scientific Assessment and Chemical Review Program. During that time, Dr Bhula was heavily involved in the development of technical policy and scientific risk assessment methodologies by participating in international expert committees and technical groups such as the Pesticides Working Group at OECD and the Codex Committee for Pesticide Residues.

Dr Bhula joined the Australian Public Service following completion of a Ph.D in Chemistry and over 6 years of postdoctoral research in the UK, New Zealand and Australia in areas of bioinorganic chemistry and drug design. She is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Since commencing in the role of Gene Technology Regulator, the OGTR has made significant contributions to the Third Review of the Gene Technology Scheme, which involves a significant program of modernising and future-proofing the scheme for the regulation of gene technology and genetically modified organisms.

The Regulator’s roles and functions

In 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
  • develop
    • 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

Gene Technology Regulator Statement of Intent 2020-2023

PDF version of Gene Technology Regulator Statement of Intent 2020-2023 (PDF 429 KB)
Word version of Gene Technology Regulator Statement of Intent 2020-2023 (Word 2215 KB)

Minister's Letter of Expectations 2020

PDF version of Minister's Letter of Expectations 2020 (PDF 703 KB)

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