Words // Carmen Miller
With the ink all but dry on the LNP’s commitment to reach a Net Zero target by 2050, questions surrounding the industry of agriculture and the part it has to play in the climate equation have reached fever pitch.
With the sting of the failed Kyoto Approach ever-present in the mind of farmers Australia-wide, the agricultural industry was wary of legislation once again impacting their property rights and hindering the future prosperity of their operations.
The National Farmers’ Federation has long been vocal in their support of the target and welcomed the Federal Government’s commitment.
“The Government’s plan confirms, beyond doubt, what we already knew: our farmers and our agricultural lands hold the key to delivering Australia’s 2050 goal,” NFF President Fiona Simson said.
“We’re pleased to see that by avoiding regulation and taxes, the Government’s plan is a departure from the failed Kyoto approach which saw farmers regulated into footing the bill without recompense or recognition.
“Instead, this plan recognises the hard work agriculture has already done in driving down Australia’s emissions since 2005.
“It also recognises the tremendous opportunity that exists to use agricultural land as a carbon sink, by working with and incentivising our farmers to do even more.
“Now that the political process has played out, it’s time for Government to sit down with our industry and get stuck into the detail of how we deliver on this together, and make sure it stacks up for farmers.”
Despite the positive attitude of the NFF, local farmers are wary of Government committing to a target before a clear and concise path forward has been established.
“We are so far backwards in Australia when it comes to thinking of practical solutions to combat climate change, and we really need to play catch up,” Yungaburra farmer Geoff Riesen said.
“We need to be careful not to just slap a target on it without giving anyone a clear path to get there.
“We need assurances from the Government that technologies and innovations will be there and available to all of us in the industry.”
By his own admission, Scott Morrison is relying heavily on “technology breakthroughs” and “global trends” to help cut emissions. However, with the majority of such technologies not yet in existence, the scepticism of farmers on the ground is more than understandable.
For Mr Reisen, ensuring farmers have a seat at the table when it comes to key discussions surrounding agriculture’s role in Net Zero 2050 is absolutely imperative.
“I know there is no silver bullet when it comes to the agricultural industry and the Net Zero 2050 target, but we need to be involved in the solutions and Government really needs to make sure the path forward is clear, concise and, most importantly, achievable.”
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