Working with farming and forestry sectors to reduce pollution

No one knows our land better than our farmers - they’ve been leading the way in responding to climate change. That’s why a Shorten Labor Government will help the land sector to reduce pollution while giving farmers and the forestry industry new opportunities to earn income.

Australia’s land sector offers huge potential to supply low cost offsets for Australian businesses, while supporting regional economic development, Indigenous economic development, and improved bio-diversity.  
To bring down pollution broad-scale land clearing needs to be brought under control to ensure Australia has a robust offset market and to meet our Paris targets. Rates of land clearing more than doubled in Queensland after the LNP abolished virtually all controls, peaking at about two-thirds the rate of the Amazon’s deforestation and killing millions of native wildlife.
Under the chaotic Liberals and Nationals Government - specifically the tinkering and neglect of Labor’s Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) methodology - pollution has risen in the land sector which has led to perverse environmental outcomes.
A Shorten Labor Government will reinvigorate the land offset market to help industry reduce pollution at least cost, and give farmers, the forestry industry and traditional land owners new opportunities to earn income by:

  • Supporting the meat industry’s commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030 through a Strategic Meat Industry plan, with funding of $2 million over the forward estimates.

  • Reviewing and strengthening Labor’s CFI with the aim of increasing land sector abatement opportunities and ensuring CFI methodologies are robust. This will include exploring the establishment of ‘premium’ land sector credits which provide substantial environmental, biodiversity and other co-benefits.

  • Improving integrity and growth of the offset market by boosting carbon farming methodology research and development ($40 million over forward estimates) and introducing a carbon assessment standard.

  • Ensuring the federal government can intervene to put in protections to stop broad-scale land clearing. Where states properly regulate land clearing, such as Queensland, Labor will take no action. Importantly:

  • Labor will build new tools and maps that help landholders understand if they are required to consider the federal land clearing protections, with funding of $8 million over the forward estimates. This will be a quick and simple online process designed to make it easier for farmers to know if they need to comply with protections.

  • Labor will work with the states to bring the rest of the country in line with Queensland’s reporting of land clearing by implementing the state’s ground-tested SLATS system nationwide, and re-invigorating COAG’s National Vegetation Management Framework. Native title holders and tradition owners of the land would be exempt from land clearing protections while we consult with them on land clearing laws.

  • Develop and deliver a National Forestry Summit and a National Forestry Strategic Plan, to support the growth of a more sustainable and prosperous forestry industry.

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