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Carbon Farming Initiative: A promising start say farmers

24 January 2011

ALTHOUGH unknowns remain under the Federal Government’s Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI), the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) says it is optimistic any kinks can be ironed out well before the final legislation enters Parliament.

“We’re cautious but broadly supportive of the concept and intent of the Carbon Farming Initiative,” NFF President Jock Laurie explained.

“There are uncertainties about the carbon price, what farm activities will qualify, how the CFI will monitor, measure and verify abatement projects and how it will be administered. However, it is positive recognition of the major role agriculture can play in mitigating carbon emissions through on-farm management.”

In its submission on the CFI, lodged today, the NFF says key issues need to be resolved:

  • The definitions underpinning carbon abatement projects are too narrow and fail to heed agriculture’s full offset potential, severely hampering the farm sector’s ability to maximise practical and affordable carbon reduction. If the Government wants to avoid creating perverse land-use decisions, through limiting action to reforestation, then the CFI parameters need to be more flexible.
  • Costs and processes for farmers to participate in the CFI must be streamlined. Given it is, by necessity a voluntary program, compliance costs and red tape must be minimised if an adequate uptake is to be expected.

“If the Government gets these settings right, the CFI could see landholders proactive in reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” Mr Laurie said. “Through an incentives approach we are likely to see more farmers actively pursuing carbon reduction strategies… that has to be better than regulation or punitive policy.

“However, without flexibility around offset standards, the CFI desire of ‘enabling broad participation’ is in jeopardy of collapse before it begins. This would be to the detriment of not only Australian farmers but, ultimately, undermine any serious push to reduce carbon emissions under the CFI.

“For our part, Australian farmers are under no illusions that the CFI will transform farm income, especially not in the short- to medium-term. Likewise, the Government should not assume that the CFI will see farmers blindly support an economy-wide price on carbon for the sake of driving demand for offsets.

“In fact, we remain alarmed by the potential impact on Australia’s $32 billion-a-year farm exports should a domestic carbon price be introduced that compromises our ability to compete on international markets, regardless of farmers accessing any CFI credits.”

The NFF’s submission is available below and from the Submissions to Goverment page of this website.

[ENDS]

Related files:

« NFF launches Farm Facts 2011


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