The government’s announcement of new funding and measures to support adoption of low emissions technology includes key initiatives for the agricultural sector. Support for technology development to support soil carbon sequestration, combined with moves to fast-track development of carbon farming opportunities is a step in the right direction to achieve a net-zero Australia by 2050.
There are currently over 570 registered land-based carbon farming projects, covering more than 47 million hectares, generating 144 million tonnes of carbon abatement. These projects are injecting more than $1.7 billion into rural, regional and remote Australian communities.
These numbers show the initial rapid growth of carbon farming, which has since eased due to limitations of approved carbon farming methodologies and the slow adoption of new technologies.
This can change now the government has adopted several key recommendations from the independent King Review and following today’s announcement of related investments in carbon farming.
The new investment in emerging land-sector technologies, fast-tracking of approvals of expanded carbon farming methods and planned regulatory changes to enable multiple carbon farming methods to be stacked on one property will lead to significant emissions reductions through improved land management across Australia’s rangelands and productive agricultural areas.
The accelerated development and adoption of emerging technologies, such as drones, geospatial technology and machine learning will support evidence-based land management decision making. Other emerging agtech includes novel feeds and supplements that can reduce enteric methane emissions and improve productivity of livestock.
These changes will help to make carbon farming commercially viable and practical to implement for family-run farms, agribusiness and Traditional Custodians, and we expect to see an accelerated and renewed up take across diverse geographies in Australia.
As this active landscape management approach is rolled out, Australia can gain from the potential to unlock over 5000 new projects, covering 65 million hectares of land and delivering 2.5 billion tonnes of carbon abatement within 10 years. This level of abatement opens the possibility of supplying an emerging export market with sustainable agricultural commodities and high integrity land-based carbon credits.
Based on current carbon prices, up to $40 billion can be injected into regional Australia, enabling a productive and sustainable land sector for the long-term. The benefits go beyond carbon, fostering reconciliation action through partnerships with Traditional Custodians, improving soil health, regenerating biodiverse forests, and creating jobs and local investment for remote and rural communities.
We look forward to working with our carbon farming partners, the government and other stakeholders to roll out these initiatives, underpinned by robust governance arrangements, seizing the opportunity for the land sector to provide a rapid and material contribution towards a net-zero emissions target by 2050.
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