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Farmers welcome movement on Carbon Farming Initiative

24 March 2011

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) welcomes today’s introduction of the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) legislation into Federal Parliament and is pleased that it has addressed a number of the NFF’s key concerns raised through the draft consultation process.

“We have always stated that we are broadly supportive of the concept and intent of the Carbon Farming Initiative,” NFF President, Jock Laurie explained.

“Despite the uncertainties that abound in the area of carbon mitigation, the progress of the CFI demonstrates the positive role agriculture can play in mitigating against carbon emissions through on-farm management.

“The Government has made significant movements on a number of flaws in the draft legislation. This includes the critical area of financial additionality, where the absurd proposal to exclude projects leading to material benefits or productivity gains has thankfully been rejected.

“Today’s legislation has also addressed NFF concerns around potential perverse outcomes in relation to food production, water, local communities, employment and biodiversity, as well as reducing some of the uncertainty and administration costs surrounding crediting periods, reporting timeframes and offsets compliance.

“The Government deserves credit for listening to the farm sector and modifying its proposal to ensure that genuine abatement opportunities under the CFI are not unnecessarily overlooked.

“While many in farming communities remain disappointed over the lack of appropriate recognition for past farmer contributions to carbon mitigation, under the CFI farmers can look forward to being recognised for at least some of their future contributions to the carbon abatement challenge. How much exactly remains to be seen.

“However the clear passage of this legislation cannot be misinterpreted as being the end of the road for this process and a significant education task will exist for farmers looking to engage.

“While some prudent flexibility has been shown by the Government in making the CFI more accessible for landholders, the reality is that CFI offset credits will still require participants to adhere to stringent obligations. For bio-sequestration projects, such as those involving soil carbon and forestry, these obligations will remain for many years.

“Farmers need to be aware of these responsibilities and a detailed education program, both utilising the Landcare networks and other existing farmer extension networks will be vital.”

[ENDS]

Media Contact: Matt Linnegar on (02) 6273 3855 or 0408 448 250

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