Primary industries minister David Llewellyn was attacked by the opposition in the House of Assembly yesterday, after refusing to reveal whether his departmental staff knew about the 58 secret uncontained GE crop trials carried out through 1997 and 2000 by Serve-Ag for agri-giants Aventis and Monsanto.

Sue Napier, leader of the opposition, pointed out that Llewellyn could have found out about the trials through his powers under the Quarantine Act and that he had access to more information than he has previously admitted. The commercial confidentiality previously referred to would have been overridden by the act.

Llewellyn admitted a fortnight ago that the trials were completed before the state moratorium was implemented last year, but maintains that he believed there to be only 14 trials, which he found out about because some of his departmental staff were involved with seed certification.

“He insisted on clinging to the line that privacy legislation intervened and prevented him from finding out,” said Napier.

A censure motion put against Mr Llewellyn was defeated in the house.