The Carbon Market Institute (CMI) expressed disappointment that the federal government has today decided to proceed with the “double whammy” of unnecessary red-tape that gives the Agriculture Minister an additional veto power over certain carbon farming projects, and places un-warranted restrictions on landholder decision-making.

Minister for Energy & Emissions Reduction, The Hon. Angus Taylor, made the announcement on Day 1 of CMI’s 6th Carbon Farming Industry Forum – a two-day virtual event bringing together Australia’s carbon industry stakeholders to consider the latest developments and progress key actions of the Carbon Farming Industry Roadmap.

“There remains no evidence provided by the Government of the problem it is attempting to solve with this intervention, and today’s announcement is really a third whack for landholders, especially in Western and South Australia where there are already existing legislative frameworks that ensure carbon farming will need to integrate with existing pastoral activities.,” said John Connor, CMI CEO.

CMI noted that the impact of the intervention will depend on guidelines for the exercise of the Agriculture Minister’s veto power, and the extent to which current or future Ministers might make arbitrary decisions. The guidelines have just been released this morning and will be examined by CMI.

“There is also a bittersweet irony here. We welcomed Tuesday’s Budget announcement that carbon farming would be recognised as an agricultural activity, or primary production, for taxation purposes, but now we have the frankly bizarre situation where an agricultural activity which is already regulated is subject to even more red tape, through intervention by the Agriculture Minister,” he said.

CMI will continue to consult with several key stakeholders whom did not support this move, including some states, farmers, Indigenous and land conservation managers, and consider next steps.

Also speaking at the Forum, Shadow Minister for Climate & Energy, the Hon. Chris Bowen MP said:

“Since December alone, we’ve seen new requirements for climate active certification, and a new veto power for the agriculture minister over HIR projects. And of course, new retrospective terms for ERF contracts,” said the Minister.

“Now, not all of these changes are bad. Some are even welcome, like the treatment of carbon farming as primary production. But taken together, they represent an unacceptable level of intervention and uncertainty for your sector. And that uncertainty has been exacerbated by the government’s failure to consult those who know the market best,” he said.

The full Forum program can be viewed here.

CMI’s previous release and submission on the veto powers are available here.

The Carbon Market Institute is the independent industry association for business leading the transition to net zero emissions. Its over 130 members include primary producers, carbon project developers, Indigenous corporations, legal and advisory services, insurers, banks and emission intensive industries developing decarbonisation and offset strategies. CMI’s policy positions are approved by its Board and do not necessarily represent the views of all CMI members.

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