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CFI bill passes: On-farm carbon mitigation to be rewarded

24 August 2011

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has acknowledged the passage of the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) through the Parliament, enabling farmers to be rewarded for carbon mitigation practices undertaken on-farm.

“The NFF has been broadly supportive of the concept and intent of the CFI from the outset as positive recognition of the major role agriculture can play in mitigating carbon emissions through on-farm management,” said NFF President Jock Laurie.

“We have long said that voluntary, market based mechanisms, using a carrot rather than a stick approach to carbon abatement, is the best way to engage with farmers in this challenge. The CFI fits this description.

“The NFF has also been consistent in saying that Australian farmers are under no illusions that the CFI will transform farm income, especially not in the short- to medium-term.

“However, with a continued focus on productivity-based research and the development of methodologies underpinning abatement projects, we hope that the CFI can mature to draw a meaningful contribution to Australia’s carbon mitigation effort,” Mr Laurie said.

“It is positive that the CFI legislation passed late yesterday has addressed a number of the key concerns raised by the NFF, particularly surrounding the potential for shifting regional land use away from agriculture and towards forestation.

“We know that this Bill has undergone extensive debate and scrutiny and for this reason we feel confident that many of the potential pitfalls in this relatively new and complex area of carbon abatement have now been ironed out.

“However, we will continue to closely monitor outcomes under the CFI to ensure that no unintended consequences emerge in regional Australia to the detriment of our farmers.

“It is now vital that the Government intensifies its education process to ensure that farmers who decide to engage with the CFI do so with complete and unbiased information about the responsibilities that come with the program,” Mr Laurie concluded.

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