This week I received a response in relation to my Freedom of Information request to the Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Senator Colbeck.
I thank him for the copy of letter that he sent to both Minister Price and Minister Littleproud detailing the outcomes of the internal review into the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) Water Rule.
Labor is disappointed that Senator Colbecks letter makes no clear recommendation that the Morrison Government should remove the water rule that currently exists in the CFI both in the plantation and forestry methodologies.
Neither does the letter detail the outcomes of the review apparently undertaken by the Assistant Ministers department. The letter just reiterates what is already known.
The forestry industry will be left shaking their head as two minutes to an election the letter ends with the Assistant Minister writing I look forward to working with you on considering this important action in support of a strong and viable forest industry. The Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison governments have had more than five years to consider the removal of the water rule.
A Shorten Labor Government is committed to removing the water rule and 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.
Australias 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.
Australias land sector is supplying the vast majority of Emission Reduction Fund abatement, through the CFI established by the last Labor government. Labor wants to see land sector abatement grow.
The CFI architecture requires modernisation after five years of Liberals/Nationals tinkering and neglect.
A Shorten Labor Government is also committed to holding a summit for the forestry sector to inform the development of a comprehensive forestry strategic plan and, in a bipartisan manner, will consider the work undertaken so far. This commitment has been supported by the Australian Forest Products Association.
Labors forestry plan will seek to adequately promote sustainable profitability, local downstream processing, good local jobs. It will be developed by government, industry, employers and trade unions.