Scientific research regulation and ethics

The Queensland Government has established regulations and codes of ethics to ensure scientific research in the state is carried out within a transparent and ethical environment. These include the use of animals in research and the use of biotechnology, gene technology and genetically modified organisms.

Queensland Biotechnology Code of Ethics

Community concerns about biotechnology are addressed by the Queensland Biotechnology Code of Ethics (the code), which defines the ethical boundaries for organisations undertaking biotechnology activities in Queensland. The code covers all areas of biotechnology activity including health care, agriculture, food and the environment.

It is a requirement that any biotechnology company receiving Queensland Government funding abide by the code and sign a statement of intent as part of its compliance and ongoing commitment to the code.

Organisations must also provide an annual report to the department by 30 September each year. For a copy of the annual report template, email

Organisations covered by the code are identified in a public register. The Queensland Biotechnology Code of Ethics is being updated but you can download an interim version of the code.

For more information, email

Gene technology and genetically modified organisms

Gene technology refers to a range of molecular techniques that allow the direct alteration of the genetic material of living things (organisms) so they may produce new or modified substances, or perform new or changed functions.

To protect the health and safety of people and the environment, the Australian and Queensland governments have enacted complementary legislation to regulate this technology: the Commonwealth Gene Technology Act 2000 (Cwlth) and the Gene Technology (Queensland) Act 2016.

The Gene Technology (Queensland) Act 2016 was declared corresponding legislation by the Commonwealth and commenced via proclamation on 1 March 2017. The new Act replaces the Gene Technology Act 2001 (Queensland).

The new Act automatically applies the Commonwealth gene technology laws as laws of Queensland - known as 'lock-step' - so that a consistent approach is in place across both jurisdictions. The new Act also contains a provision whereby Queensland can 'opt out' of future Commonwealth amendments if they are not in Queensland's interests.

The Gene Technology Regulator will administer and enforce the new Queensland legislation.

Queensland has not banned commercial production of genetically modified crops.

For more information on Queensland's gene technology legislation or genetically modified organisms email:


General enquiries: 13 QGOV (13 74 68)