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New report highlights CPRS shortcomings for agriculture

10 September 2009

NEW analysis released today by ACIL Tasman reinforces the National Farmers’ Federation’s (NFF’s) case that the Federal Government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) as it currently stands does not work for Australian farmers, the jobs they support and the food production upon which we all rely.

“Pressure is mounting on the Federal Government to take decisive action now to remove agriculture’s emissions from intended CPRS coverage once-and-for-all,” NFF President David Crombie said.

“ACIL Tasman’s report, ‘Agriculture and GHG mitigation policy: options in addition to the CPRS’, stresses the exact case we’ve put to the Government for months... that the CPRS does not tick all the necessary boxes and that the Government has no choice but to look outside the confines of the CPRS for agriculture.”

The report, commissioned by the NSW and Victorian Departments of Primary Industries, highlight’s CPRS shortcomings for Australia’s $137 billion farm sector, while expanding on workable economic and environmental alternatives to covering agricultural emissions.

“As we have repeatedly emphasised, the report explains the benefits of adopting a carrot, rather than stick, approach to dealing with agriculture’s emissions,” Mr Crombie said.

“It favours delivering incentives to farmers to manage emissions rather than punishing the sector for them. This is similar to what the US, countries in Europe, Japan, Canada and other nations are doing, having already recognised agriculture is different and doesn’t fit the emissions trading blueprint.

“ACIL Tasman recognises that agriculture can play a major role in further mitigating emissions, but these opportunities will be largely ignored under the CPRS.

“The affect will add unnecessary costs to the Australian economy and could severely impact the $32 billion-a-year farm export sector and the 317,000 direct Australian jobs in agriculture it directly supports, not to mention constrain food production at a time when the exploding world population (growing by 100 million people per year) can least afford it.

“The report emphasises agriculture’s huge potential for underwriting Australia’s greenhouse gas targets, if the Government can provide the tools and an appropriate way for farmers to be part of the solution. An inflexible approach will simply not cut it.

“The Rudd Government must not hamstring Australian farmers by tying itself to flawed Kyoto carbon accounting rules. Instead, it needs to be driven by actions that we know will mitigate greenhouse gas pollution. If the Government is fair dinkum about what it is trying to achieve, isn’t that the end game?

“The report also accentuates research and development as vital in keeping our farm sector vibrant and competitive, and that carbon mitigation benefits align with productivity gains. Again, this reinforces our call that all Governments reverse the decline in agricultural research spending.

“The ACIL Tasman report backs the NFF’s policy changes that add a new, complementary dimension to the CPRS by providing farmers with voluntary options outside of the regime, and hastens the need for the Government to permanently exclude agriculture from its CPRS.”

[ENDS]

Media Enquiries: Brett Heffernan on (02) 6273 3855 or 0408 448 250.

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