The Carbon Market Institute (CMI) is urging the Government not to rush proposals to grant the Minister for Agriculture veto power over some carbon farming projects, saying the excessive bureaucracy and unnecessary farmer restrictions could hinder, not help farmers seeking to boost or supplement agricultural productivity with carbon farming initiatives.
The proposals are also without substantial evidence or documentation that targeted native forest generation projects have had the claimed significant “adverse impacts on agricultural production or local communities.”
CMI accepts some concerns may be genuinely held and there may be industry outliers which should be addressed, but said existing land management requirements of the independent regulator were the place to start, not adding oversight of an additional Minister and Government Department.
CMI warns that if such proposals are rushed through, they may threaten the growth and viability of carbon farming best practice, as well as undermining the basic rights of farmers and their involvement in the industry.
CMI CEO John Connor said:
“Farmers and landholders have been the big winners from Australia’s carbon crediting scheme which has seen more than an 8 per cent increase in Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) delivered in this year alone. This is largely underpinned by the ability for farmers to integrate their agricultural productivity with carbon farming practices”.
“These proposed changes could compromise the acceleration of sustainable agricultural productivity and land management projects that many farmers and investors are engaging in or considering, while also countering other government initiatives to streamline engagement in the industry,” he said.
“With only a brief consultation period available up until January 14 next year, including the two-week Christmas and New Year period, our concern remains that these changes aren’t yet backed up by adequate evidence and may deliver unwanted outcomes if pushed through too quickly,” he said.
With the growing carbon farming industry set to deliver up to $24 billion revenue and 21,000 jobs by 2030 according to the Carbon Farming Industry Roadmap, the proposals also have the potential to hurt rural economies the major beneficiaries of the more than $2.5 billion committed under the Emissions Reduction Fund.
“CMI has been engaging on these concerns with local councils, state governments and ministerial offices over these concerns during the last year, and is assisting a study into this in South-West Queensland, which is about to get underway. We should await results from some hard evidence rather than undocumented concerns, and avoid rushing this excessively bureaucratic government overlay on an already heavily regulated industry,” concluded Connor.
The Carbon Market Institute is the independent industry association for business leading the transition to net zero emissions. Its over 120 members include primary producers, carbon project developers, Indigenous corporations, legal and advisory services, insurers, banks and emission intensive industries developing decarbonisation and offset strategies.
To interview John Connor please contact Thomas Hann on 0408880536 or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org