Federal and state government agencies are working in a range of ways to give landholders clear, reliable advice on carbon farming, government officials told a forum convened by the Carbon Market Institute (CMI) in Cairns.
Representatives of government departments from Queensland, NSW and Western Australia spoke at a Carbon Farming Industry Forum in Cairns on Monday, along with a representative of the federal Department of Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Water (DCCEEW).
Tom Webster, from Queensland’s Department of Environment and Science, told the Forum that landholders have an enormous range of potentially competing opportunities available to them, including carbon farming.
The danger is that landowners will just conclude “I don’t know which one of these is right for me, and I’m just going to wait”, Webster said.
To avoid that risk we need to “cut through that static”, he said, noting that the Queensland government has provided grants to support the development of a network of trusted, approved carbon farming advisors who can assist landholders.
Webster cautioned that it is important for governments to avoid “stepping on each other’s toes with their various outreach programs, tools and resources.
He added that there was a deluge of information resources available to landholders, of variable quality, and welcomed the prospect of an evaluation of these as part of the federal government’s carbon farming outreach activities.
Megan Surawski, manager of ACCU implementation with the federal department DCCEEW, told the Forum that a key role for the federal government is to provide a good platform that can support state and territory initiatives.
DCCEEW has also established a working group with representatives of states and territories to share information on their new programs and to explore opportunities to work together, with the aim of reducing the risk of duplication, Surawski said.
Kerrie House, from WA’s Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, noted that the Carbon Industry Code of Conduct would have an increasingly significant role to play in providing reassurance to landholders.
“The code of conduct is really important,” House said, partly because landholders can check whether those reaching out to them are code signatories, and because it offers an “avenue for resolution” if landholders end up in a disagreement with a carbon service provider.
Dr Cathy Waters, from the NSW Department of Primary Industries, said various NSW state agencies were developing a single website that would provide information to landowners on incentives available to them to tackle climate change.
CMI CEO John Connor welcomed the signs of greater cooperation and said it was critical that jurisdictions work very closely together.
“To speed and strengthen cooperation, and to ensure we use every opportunity to reduce and avoid greenhouse gas emissions, we encourage the federal government to lead work on the development of a national carbon market strategy, as recommended by the Climate Change Authority,” Connor said.
“This will help to ensure adequate resourcing to support stakeholders to better engage with the industry, and importantly, better recognise and deliver Indigenous, social, environmental and economic co-benefits for regional communities,” he said.
“The Climate Change Authority has recommended the development of a national carbon market strategy to build confidence in the market and improve understanding of how it operates,” Connor added.
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About the Carbon Market Institute
The Carbon Market Institute (CMI) is a member-based institute accelerating the transition towards a negative emissions, nature positive world. It champions best practice in carbon markets and climate policy, and its over 150 members include primary producers, carbon project developers, Indigenous organisations, legal, technology and advisory services, insurers, banks, investors, corporate entities and emission intensive industries. The positions put forward constitute CMI’s independent view and do not purport to represent any CMI individual, member company, or industry sector.
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