Climate Proofing Australia (CPA) welcomes the Federal Opposition’s climate change policy package that delivers on several of CPA’s policy priorities, including reinvigorating the Carbon Farming Initiative, developing new CFI methodologies, and creating “premium” carbon offsets to incentivise projects that deliver multiple benefits.

CPA is a conservation and industry alliance comprised of Farmers for Climate Action, the Red Meat Advisory Council (RMAC), Greening Australia and the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA), committed to advancing the role of agribusiness, conservation and natural resource management in Australia’s climate change and emissions reduction policy.

Labor’s policy announcement today includes the following commitments which respond directly to CPA’s asks:

A Shorten Labor Government will reinvigorate the land offset market, to help industry reduce pollution at least cost, and give farmers, the forestry industry and traditional land owners new opportunities to earn income [by]:

Supporting the meat industry’s commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030 through a Strategic Meat Industry plan, with funding of $2 million over the forward estimates.

Reviewing and strengthening the CFI with the aim of increasing land sector abatement opportunities and ensuring CFI methodologies are robust. This will include exploring the establishment of ‘premium’ land sector credits which provide substantial environmental, biodiversity and other co-benefits.

Improving integrity and growth of the offset market by boosting carbon farming methodology research and development ($40 million over forward estimates) and introducing a carbon assessment standard.

Farmers for Climate Action CEO Ms Verity Morgan-Schmidt said, “We are delighted to see the policy highlights the importance of biodiversity and other co-benefits achieved through carbon sequestration in the agricultural sector, and welcome on-going commitment to expanding the role of eco-system service payments in diverse and profitable farm businesses.”

Greening Australia CEO Mr Brendan Foran welcomed the commitment to develop ‘premium’ carbon offsets which could incentivise new types of carbon sequestration projects that integrate biodiversity and conservation outcomes with farming and forestry.

“With land-based activities also accounting for around 20 per cent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, carbon farming presents a really important opportunity not just to reduce these emissions, but to improve our landscape at the same time,” said Foran.

“A strengthened CFI and the introduction of ‘premium credits’ will mean that large-scale tree plantings can also achieve important co-benefits, such as reinstating wildlife habitat, supporting sustainable agriculture and cleaner waters in our rivers.

“To ensure this work can be rolled out at a viable scale across the country, CPA’s members will continue to work with Labor and the Government to build further bipartisan support,” he said.

CPA’s key policy principles are:

  • The continuation and enhancement of the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) – around which the Emissions Reduction Fund was built – to maximise biodiversity, and food and fibre production benefits alongside the scheme’s carbon sequestration objectives.
  • The development of new mechanisms and incentives for carbon abatement on land projects that brings together institutional, private and public capital.
  • The need for new and improved national environmental datasets and mapping to guide best practice and whole-of-landscape policy making that integrates forestry, farming and conservation outcomes.
  • Improving the Australian landscape by balancing native biodiverse plantings with agricultural production and forestry.
  • Primary industries working towards carbon neutrality by 2030.