23 June 2023
Farmers for Climate Action supports the Federal Government’s Nature Market Repair Bill providing it is amended to not allow biodiversity offsets.
The organisation, which now represents 8000 farmers across Australia, said in its submission to the Nature Repair Market Bill inquiry that farmers’ efforts to increase biodiversity should not be used to offset habitat destruction by companies or governments. It believes public money and voluntary purchases of biodiversity credits by companies would be better ways to drive an increase in biodiversity, which benefits everyone.
The position follows a survey of farmers’ attitudes to the Bill. The survey of 455 farmers found:
- 60% of farmers said they’d like to participate in the scheme (35% unsure; 5% would not participate)
- Just 16% of farmers supported the use of biodiversity offsets to drive payments to farmers (54% opposed offsets and 30% were not sure)
CEO Dr Fiona Davis said: “Our farmers want to be paid to improve landscapes, but they also want to increase Australia’s biodiversity, not shrink it.
“It’s nearly impossible to recreate the biodiversity and land cleared in one area exactly as it was in another area. Experts have made this really clear. So biodiversity offsets really mean less biodiversity.
“Allowing offsets also gives big companies the green light to buy essential food producing farmland and clear it to produce offsets.
“The use of biodiversity credits as offsets for land clearing would achieve the opposite of what the scheme aims to do. We need deep emissions reductions in this decisive decade for climate and we need to make genuine increases to biodiversity across the country.
“Rewarding Australian farmers for increasing biodiversity has the potential to greatly improve the area of Australia managed for biodiversity, given farmers manage more than half the Australian land mass.
“Payments could also produce drought-resistant income for farmers, which helps them keep employing people in tough times.
“A scheme like this could support farmers but it needs to be well designed, transparent, and based on science, with certificates that are properly checked.”
Farmers for Climate Action is a movement of 8000 farmers calling for strong economy-wide climate policies.
For more information / interviews contact: Jacqui Street 0498 188 528 / firstname.lastname@example.org