Queensland leading the nation on carbon farming
Published Tuesday, 24 May, 2022 at 10:15 AM
Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef and Minister for Science and Youth Affairs
The Honourable Meaghan Scanlon
Queensland has been recognised as Australia’s leading carbon farming state, as detailed in a first-ever national assessment and report led by the Carbon Market Institute.
Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon said Queensland’s leading position in the inaugural Carbon Farming Scorecard spoke to the Palaszczuk Government’s ground-breaking $500 million Land Restoration Fund (LRF), strong policy initiatives and ongoing partnerships with key stakeholders, which are protecting the state’s environment while also creating jobs and driving an economic recovery from COVID-19 through the growth of carbon farming.
“The Palaszczuk Government is delivering a record $1.4 billion budget to protect the environment, create thousands more jobs and deliver an economic recovery plan through emerging industries like carbon farming,” Minister Scanlon said.
“The Carbon Market Institute ranked each state based on how they are developing their land-based emissions offset markets, with Queensland earning a high score of 80 per cent.
“This excellent result reflects our leading role in delivering carbon projects that generate environmental and economic co-benefits like jobs and local business for Queenslanders, especially First Nations peoples and regional communities.
Minister Scanlon said one example was the planting of 153,000 trees along Wivenhoe Dam through the Land Restoration Fund, revegetating 170 hectares of land and supporting 26 jobs.
“The LRF was the first scheme in Australia to value and pay for the strong co-benefits associated with carbon farming projects.
“This means Queensland landholders aren’t just paid for the carbon they store but will also benefit from longer-term outcomes like healthier waterways, increased habitat for threatened species, and more resilient landscapes.
“Farmers, First Nations peoples and other landholders are critical to the state’s successful carbon farming industry, and the LRF works to empower more Queenslanders to get involved in carbon farming and other environmental markets.
“The Palaszczuk Government has invested in programs that provide a practical resource to help farmers in Queensland take the first step towards developing a carbon project, including the LRF’s carbon farming rebate scheme which offered landholders up to $10,000 to receive carbon farming advice from approved professionals.”
Central Queensland primary producers Dan and Emma-Jane Burnham, who work with environmental project developers GreenCollar, have seen the positive outcomes as a result of their transition to regenerative grazing practices, supported by the LRF.
Ms Burnham said they had seen significant, positive changes to the ecosystems on their property, Stonehaven, since investing in the capturing and storage of carbon dioxide, known as biosequestration, and eco-supportive practices.
“It is something we are really proud of and hope to pass on to the next generation," Ms Burnham said.
"We are managing trees and vegetation, building healthy soils and increasing biodiversity on our country by managing the recovery time of our paddocks by allowing them to rest.
“This rest, to us, is more important than grazing, as it allows all plants to develop strong roots thus holding more soil together so it can retain more water, grow more leaves and become more resilient in slow growing times, like drought."
Mr Burnham said through the support of the Land Restoration Fund and GreenCollar, they were building a positive environmental cycle at Burnham Grazing.
“Our grass-fed, grass-finished beef cattle and our carbon biosequestration go hand in hand; both are a part of our core business, which is regenerative grazing,” Mr Burnham said.
"Regenerative grazing techniques mean that we can create multiple income streams from both cattle production and carbon biosequestration, increasing our financial resilience while also enhancing our ecological profiles - biodiversity in flora and fauna, soil health, water and nutrient cycles as well as animal and human health.”
GreenCollar’s Chief Operating Officer Nerida Bradley said that the LRF is a leading example of valuing and rewarding farmers for the additional benefits generated from carbon farming projects.
“The projects we are developing under the LRF scheme are some of the first to tangibly demonstrate the value of biodiversity improvements alongside carbon abatement and sequestration and are setting the standard for carbon projects across the country.
“There is an urgent need to halt and reverse nature loss in Australia. The LRF is proving that this can be done without negatively impacting the agriculture sector and at the same time deliver a boost to regional economies through job creation and local investment. It’s a win-win for all.”
Minister Scanlon said on top of strong policies, Queensland had natural advantages for carbon farming including long coastlines, extensive wetlands and vast savannas.
“The LRF supports research and development that helps Queensland landholders harness these advantages to participate in the carbon market with projects that will deliver benefits over and above the capturing and storing of carbon,” Minister Scanlon said.
In addition to environmental benefits, Land Restoration Fund projects bring opportunities to regional Queensland communities – critical as part of the state’s economic recovery from COVID-19.
Projects contracted through the LRF’s first investment round are supporting local training and employment opportunities such as plant operators, project managers and scientists, as well as roles on Country for Indigenous Rangers.
Minister Scanlon said other states across Australia were following in Queensland’s footsteps when it came to carbon farming initiatives.
“Following on from our strong results, other states across Australia are now replicating the LRF’s successful model of paying farmers, First Nations peoples and other land managers to run carbon projects that generate co-benefits.
“The outcome of the Carbon Market Institute’s report reflects Queensland’s exceptional efforts to reap the environmental and economic benefits of carbon farming.”
The Palaszczuk Government will continue to lead the country by supporting carbon farming initiatives to tackle climate change and empower First Nations and regional communities.
This includes a $35 million investment to establish a new Queensland Natural Capital Fund, which will kickstart environmental co-investment between government and the private sector to support investment in Queensland’s environment, receiving returns from sustainable agriculture, carbon and other environmental markets while boosting the environmental and socio-economic outcomes.
Media contact: Francis Dela Cruz - 0420 592 078