Government urges Senate to pass Carbon Farming Initiative

The Gillard Government has today published draft regulations that set out potential types of projects for inclusion in the Carbon Farming Initiative and provide protection for the farming sector and environment.

The Gillard Government has today published draft regulations that set out potential types of projects for inclusion in the Carbon Farming Initiative and provide protection for the farming sector and environment.

The Carbon Farming Initiative has resumed debate in the Senate this week and is a key part of the Government's climate change policy.

The Initiative will open up new income streams for farmers and other landholders through the sale of carbon credits on domestic and international markets.

"These draft regulations are the result of extensive consultation and set out a clear process for determining which projects could be included under the offsets scheme," the Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change, Mark Dreyfus, said.

"As projects are rolled out across the land sector to reduce Australia's greenhouse gas emissions, these regulations will encourage innovation and ensure that all projects under the scheme protect our farming sector and environment," said Mr Dreyfus.

The Carbon Farming Initiative has been carefully designed to avoid any adverse impacts on food security and the environment, including water, while working to unlock important greenhouse gas abatement opportunities across regional Australia.

The draft regulations publish a ‘negative list' of excluded activities under the Carbon Farming Initiative. The negative list identifies activities that are ineligible because they risk adverse impacts on biodiversity, water, communities or employment.

The draft regulations also set out a ‘positive list' of activities that go beyond common practice in the land and waste sectors. This will ensure that only projects that are genuinely additional to common practice are credited under the Carbon Farming Initiative.

"The Government is working to secure the passage of the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Bill through the Senate so that farmers and other landholders can start reaping financial rewards from acting to tackle climate change," Mr Dreyfus said.

"Assessments are underway to determine eligible projects - from fire management in Indigenous communities to improving the way we manage our landfill sites - regional communities are ready to tap in to the opportunities under the Carbon Farming Initiative, they just need this legislation to pass."

"The Opposition need to stop playing games and support this vital legislation that gives farmers and other landholders access to carbon markets worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year by 2020," Mr Dreyfus said.

In addition to the draft regulations, the Government today also published its response to the Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee Report into the Carbon Farming Initiative.

The Government response and draft regulations and can be accessed at: www.climatechange.gov.au/cfi

The Carbon Farming Initiative is a key part of the Government's Clean Energy Future plan for Australia's land sector. Around $1 billion of carbon price revenue will be spent on land sector measures over the next four years. The plan includes a $22 million Indigenous Carbon Farming Futures Fund to help Indigenous Australians participate in the Carbon Farming Initiative. The Government has also committed $44 million to help regional Natural Resource Management organisations plan for carbon farming opportunities and the impacts of climate change.