Joint Media Release with Minister For for Agriculture and Water Resources The Hon David Littleproud MP
Territory farmers will eventually be able to receive financial incentives for managing the biodiversity on their farms, following two announcements from the Coalition Government.
Country Liberals Senator for the Northern Territory, Nigel Scullion, said a $30 million pilot program would pay farmers for improving biodiversity on their farms, and in appropriate cases also for carbon, while $4 million would be invested in an accreditation scheme to give farmers a biodiversity stamp which would be recognised nationally and internationally.
“It makes sense for farmers to receive financial incentives for looking after biodiversity,” Senator Scullion said.
“Many, many Territory farmers are currently doing this for free and they deserve something for that. If you’ve fenced off bush on your property and you’re not running crops or stock on it then you’re doing something for our nation’s biodiversity and deserve financial reward.
“Farmers love nature and they are also running a business – these policies recognise both these realities.
“I’ll be arguing for properties in the Territory to be included in this pilot trial.
“The biodiversity accreditation stamp is a good idea. This will give our local Territory farmers who are looking after the biodiversity on their farm a way to receive an extra dollar for it when they sell either here or overseas.
“We want this stamp recognised overseas – biodiversity is important in several overseas markets and we need to continue to be known for our clean, green produce.”
Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said participating farmers would receive incentives for a range of projects to improve biodiversity on farms, for example maintaining or enhancing remnant forest, regeneration of gullies or waterways, or mixed species native tree plantings.
“I’ve always thought farmers should be rewarded for the biodiversity on their properties and this could become a drought-proof income stream for them,” Minister Littleproud said.
“These programs will be trailed across different commodities and in different regions and if successful, I hope it will be expanded.
“An on-farm biodiversity policy and methodology will need to be developed and we’ll be consulting with Australian National University and farm groups on this.
“In the future we could potentially see farmers receiving payment for both biodiversity and carbon benefits from the same project.
“I’m offering a carrot to farmers who look after biodiversity and absorb carbon, not additional and unnecessary regulation which is what Labor will introduce if elected.”