Carbon Farming Initiative water rule scrapped?

Friday 3 May 2019

A contentious rule preventing new forestry plantations will be scrapped by Labor if it wins the Australian election. Labor agricultural spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon said that, if elected, Labor would remove the Carbon Farming Initiative water rule, which is claimed to be preventing the establishment of new forest plantations.

The Emissions Reduction Fund currently excludes farm forestry projects where annual rainfall exceeds 400mm, ruling out key forestry regions. The Government is reviewing the so-called water rule amid lobbying from the Australian Forest Products Association and National Farmers’ Federation — both calling for commitments to remove the rule ahead of the election to encourage plantation investment, and boost carbon abatement efforts and lagging timber supplies.

The AFPA estimates Australia’s timber industry will need more than 400,000 hectares of new timber plantations over the next 10-15 years. AFPA chief executive Ross Hampton in a recent media release said Labor’s commitment would help trigger investment in the sector, particularly on farms.

“We have been blocked out of the carbon policies in Australia for the last 5-10 years and so we’ve been saying to the parties ‘come forward and say that these artificial impediments to farmers participating in the carbon market are going to be removed’.”

Mr Fitzgibbon said if Australia was to reach its carbon emissions targets, barriers to investment must be removed to encourage people to plant more trees. “A Labor Government will get rid of the so-called water rule as quickly as we possibly can because that restriction is holding both investment and jobs back,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.

Source: weekly times

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