FARMERS for Climate Action has welcomed a Federal Government commitment for a trial platform enabling the trading of biodiversity and emissions abatement credits from revegetation.
As part of the 2021 Federal Budget, the Australian Government said it would deliver $32.1 million in new funding to trial new programs to increase biodiversity on farms.
Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud said this investment extended opportunities to reward farmers for biodiversity stewardship and comprised:
- $22.3 million to deliver a pilot program to protect and manage existing high value native vegetation
- $5.4 million to implement an Australian farm biodiversity certification scheme
- $4.4 million to establish a Biodiversity Trading Platform.
Mr Littleproud said the government is expanding its original support for agriculture biodiversity stewardship of $34 million to create market opportunities for farmers who look after biodiversity.
“It’s a win-win for farmers and the environment and contributes to the Ag2030 agenda.
“For example, this new funding will allow around 140 farmers to participate in a pilot for enhancing existing native vegetation,” he said.
“It will trial a market approach to biodiversity improvements by rewarding better long-term management of high value remnant vegetation.
“This is part of our agenda to use markets to help deliver environmental outcomes and returns to farmers,” Mr Littleproud said.
“The program is designed to rejuvenate unproductive land that has existing high value native vegetation while making sure that productive land is left for our farmers to decide how to use.
“A Biodiversity Trading Platform will enable farmers to connect with buyers of biodiversity outcomes and kick-start private sector biodiversity markets.”
Farmers for Climate Action interim chief executive officer Fiona Davis said the body is encouraged by Minister Littleproud’s growing commitment to net zero emissions and believe the program has real potential.
Sheep producer and Farmers for Climate Action chair, Charlie Prell, said building off the work pioneered by Queensland’s Land Restoration Fund, the Australian Farm Biodiversity Certification Scheme recognises the important role farmers play in supporting Australia to meet its international climate commitments and protect ecosystems.
“Providing extra income for farmers to increase their biodiversity and capture carbon is a win-win for Aussie farmers and the environment.
“Farmers want to lead the transition to a net zero economy in Australia,” he said.
“Global markets are demanding this and many farmers have already been adapting their practices for decades to adapt to and mitigate climate change”
“We look forward to working with Minister Littleproud and the Agriculture department in supporting this important program to get off the ground and encouraging farmers to take part.”