The Palaszczuk Government has today delivered on a major election commitment with the announcement of $100 million for the first round of funding under its landmark Land Restoration Fund.
The Land Restoration Fund is a first of its kind initiative that supports farmers, landowners and Traditional Owners to put in place sustainable land use practices that deliver improved yields, diversify income streams, create jobs and protect Queensland’s unique environment.
Acting Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad said the first round of funding would focus on practical solutions to improve outcomes in Great Barrier Reef catchment zones and protecting vital habitat for threatened species, including koalas.
“Queensland is one of the most biodiverse places in the world, which means we need innovative approaches for sustainable land use,” Ms Trad said.
“That’s why we’ve established the $500 million Land Restoration Fund, to support farmers, landowners and Traditional Owners to turn the dial on new methods of sustainable land use that will support our growing population while also protecting our state’s environment.
“This is about keeping trees in the ground, improving water run-off quality, supporting innovative farming methods and growing new industries in the carbon farming sector to deliver more jobs for Queenslanders.
“Carbon farminghelps to capture, hold and store carbon in trees, mangroves and soils rather than being released into the atmosphere, helping our state to meet its commitments on climate change – including achieving zero net emissions by 2050.”
Minister Enoch said the Palaszczuk Government was committed to supporting farmers, landowners and Traditional Owners through the application process with an additional $10,000 support package.
“We will be providing financial support for those who would like to enter into this market and embrace the economic opportunity it presents,” Ms Enoch said.
“This will include funding to access professional technical advice, information workshops and webinars, access to tools that offer business modelling assistance, and opportunity to make connections and collaborate on carbon farming projects with other landholders.”
Minister Enoch said that Queensland is home to some of the best land managers in the world.
“We have thousands of generations of knowledge that First Nations people hold when it comes to land management and this fund will support these valuable land management techniques.”
Work is already underway with 12 pilot projects funded through the $5 million Land Restoration Fund pilot program to trial different carbon farming techniques, including projects looking at ways that traditional savanna burning practices can lead to increased carbon credits.
Dr Matthew Bell, Non-Executive Director of the Carbon Market Institute said the Land Restoration Fund gave Queensland a clear edge in the transition to a competitive and economically prosperous net zero emissions future.
“We know that addressing climate change will require coordinated action, but we also recognise that those States able to seize the early advantage of fast-growing and valuable markets will win out,” Dr Bell said.
“The Land Restoration Fund taps into these two aspects to enable Queenslanders, and particularly regional Queenslanders, to diversify into attractive carbon and other environmental markets.”
Funded as part of the $5 million Land Restoration Fund pilot program in 2018, Dr Adrian Volders Queensland Trust for Nature Chairperson said their Aroona Station project can showcased how nature-based solutions can deliver environmental benefits while supporting vibrant regional communities.
“We are at a turning point for landholders seeking a long-term future on the land,” Dr Volders said.
“Improving landholder ability to participate in carbon and other emerging outcomes-based species or biodiversity markets can reduce reliance on single-income farming and revolutionize management of natural assets.”
Applications for this round of funding for the Land Restoration Fund will open on 28 January, 2020.