Car­bon farm­ing a boon to pas­toral­ists

Pilbara News - - Pilbara News - Tom Zaun­mayr

Ran­ge­lands pas­toral­ists would be in line for large fi­nan­cial ben­e­fits if they took up the prac­tice of car­bon farm­ing, ac­cord­ing to a new study re­leased into the prac­tice.

The Car­bon and Ran­ge­lands Pol­icy work­ing group found car­bon farm­ing — stor­ing car­bon in soil and veg­e­ta­tion and sell­ing cred­its on the car­bon mar­ket — could be worth up to $200,000 a year to the av­er­age south­ern ran­ge­lands pas­toral­ist.

Some pas­toral­ists in the up­per Gas­coyne and south­ern Pil­bara have also had a foray into the idea, in­clud­ing tri­als on Cheela Plains Sta­tion west of Kar­i­jini Na­tional Park

Pil­bara Lib­eral can­di­date Mark Alchin was in­volved in some of the early re­search.

He said Queens­land was al­ready mov­ing ahead in car­bon farm­ing projects.

“Western Aus­tralia is get­ting left be­hind yet we have the most to gain be­cause of the sheer size of the State,” he said.

“You look at all those pas­toral leases where the nat­u­ral cap­i­tal was de­pleted when Euro­peans first came to the land.

“This is a way to bankroll re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of land that has been de­graded which then al­lows pas­toral­ists, when land has been re­ha­bil­i­tated, to then sus­tain­ably graze it.”

Mr Alchin said while change would not hap­pen overnight, car­bon farm­ing had the po­ten­tial to cre­ate jobs and di­ver­sify the econ­omy.

Ran­ge­lands con­sul­tants Don Burn­side and Bruce Howard found car­bon farm­ing would gen­er­ate more roy­al­ties than the Gov­ern­ment re­ceives in rent from all the State’s 527 pas­toral leases.

The re­port was com­mis­sioned by Part­ner­ship for the Out­back.

Car­bon Neu­tral chief ex­ec­u­tive Kent Broad said the only thing stand­ing be­tween pas­toral­ists and car­bon farm­ing was the green light from Gov­ern­ment.

“The re­port sup­ports what many in the car­bon in­dus­try have sus­pected — that there is huge un­tapped po­ten­tial for car­bon farm­ing on lease­hold land in the out­back,” he said.

“The only thing left is for Gov­ern­ment to de­velop a clear in­vest­ment path­way and the pol­icy nec­es­sary for car­bon farm­ing to get off the ground.”

The study found car­bon farm­ing could re­move 140 mil­lion tonnes of car­bon diox­ide from the at­mos­phere over 25 years — equiv­a­lent to tak­ing 30 mil­lion cars off the road for a year.

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