Carbon Farming Initiative can give rural Australia stake in low_pollution economy Media Release

Mar 25, 2011 - 2:00am

The Climate Institute welcomed the Government’s revised Carbon Farming Initiative — the bill of which was tabled in Parliament today — and the in-principle support of the Opposition. 

“Properly supported, the Carbon Farming Initiative can — for the first time — give rural Australians the opportunity to play a substantial, positive and rewarding role in the growing low-pollution economy,” said Corey Watts, Regional Programs Manager for The Climate Institute.

“We are pleased to see that the Government has heeded community and industry calls, and made some important changes to the original draft. The scheme can now potentially attract more landholders, which means a bigger benefit to rural and regional Australia, and the climate.”

“We understand that the Opposition has given in-principle support to the Carbon Farming Initiative approach, which we also applaud.” 

Mr Watts said that the scheme’s long-term success now hangs on a substantial package of investment in research, development and extension for landholders, together with good natural resource management and, importantly, an adequate price tag on pollution.

“Direct investment is crucial for maximising the potential benefits of the Carbon Farming Initiative. This should be a priority for any pollution pricing revenue targeted at clean energy and pollution reductions in Australia,” he said.

“Ultimately, the voluntary market won’t be sufficient to properly reward landholders and sustain a vibrant new carbon farming sector. 

“Coupled to an adequate domestic pollution price on industrial emitters, the Carbon Farming Initiative would potentially see the biggest 1,000 polluting companies pay for rural solutions to climate change.”

In work commissioned by the Agricultural Alliance on Climate Change in 2007, the CSIRO estimated a potential new net income for rural communities from carbon farming and clean energy of as much as $1.3 billion by 2020. 

In 2010, ABARE projected that, while not costless, Australian agriculture would benefit overall from an offsets trading scheme like the Carbon Farming Initiative. Production costs would fall through improved efficiency and carbon income, productivity would rise, and total emissions from the sector drop by around 10 million tonnes by 2030 if there is a domestic carbon pollution price. New investment in carbon forestry and avoided deforestation would also flow from the Carbon Farming Initiative.

For further information: 
Corey Watts | Regional Projects Manager, The Climate Institute |  03 9600 4039 or  0466 182 728
Harriet Binet | Communications Director, The Climate Institute |  02 8239 6299

The Climate Institute has also produced a Policy Brief on The Carbon Farming Initiative that can be downloaded here.

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