The Australian Government tabled a Bill concerning Plant Variety Rights in May 1981. This Bill would, if enacted, establish property rights in new plant varieties. Plant Variety Rights legislation has been adopted in more than twenty countries. A range of economic issues relevant to the adoption of Plant Variety Rights legislation in Australia is considered in this paper, including assessments of some of the arguments of proponents and opponents of the proposed legislation. It is concluded that differences in the physical, economic, political and institutional environments in Australia mean that the claimed effects of Plant Variety Rights in other countries may not necessarily be repeated in Australia if this legislation were enacted here.