Lib­er­als en­dorse car­bon farm­ing

Pilbara News - - News - Rueben Hale

A group of WA range­lands pas­toral­ists have signed a pe­ti­tion calling on the fu­ture State Gov­ern­ment to sup­port the de­vel­op­ment of a car­bon farm­ing in­dus­try in WA’s out­back.

The pe­ti­tion, signed by 40 peo­ple, is be­ing sent to party can­di­dates and MPs in key re­gional seats, such as the Pil­bara, in ad­vance of the elec­tion. Pe­ti­tion or­gan­iser Ja­son Hastie, from Pin­gandy Sta­tion in the Up­per Gas­coyne, said a re­cent re­port out­lin­ing the po­ten­tial of car­bon farm­ing in WA found the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s Car­bon Farm­ing Ini­tia­tive could pro­vide mil­lions of dol­lars of new in­come to pas­toral­ists and re­store pro­duc­tiv­ity to long-de­graded lands.

Un­der the ini­tia­tive, farm­ers and land man­agers can earn car­bon cred­its by stor­ing car­bon or re­duc­ing green­house gas emis­sions on the land. These cred­its can then be sold to peo­ple and busi­nesses wish­ing to off­set their emis­sions.

The re­port, re­leased by the car­bon and range­lands pol­icy work­ing group in De­cem­ber, iden­ti­fied car­bon farm­ing as be­ing worth al­most $200,000 a year to the av­er­age pas­toral lease in the south­ern part of WA’s out­back. “The view of many pas­toral­ists was that car­bon farm­ing in the out­back range­lands has po­ten­tial to strengthen the re­gional econ­omy, so­cial fab­ric and pro­duc­tiv­ity of re­gional WA,” Mr Hastie said. “It of­fers pas­toral­ists the op­por­tu­nity to di­ver­sify in­come streams, sur­vive the boom and bust of droughts and mar­kets, and re­store large tracts of de­graded land at no cost to Gov­ern­ment.” Mr Hastie said WA was al­ready miss­ing out on car­bon farm­ing in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“Western Aus­tralia needs the po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship and pol­icy to sup­port car­bon farm­ing in the range­lands,” he said.

Lib­eral chal­lenger for the seat of Pil­bara Mark Alchin said if he was elected on Satur­day, he would aim to en­sure the nec­es­sary leg­is­la­tion was car­ried for­ward.

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