Farmer who cared for environment: not just fairy tale

Once upon a time there was a hard-working farmer who managed his land to the best of his ability, ensuring the vegetation and landscapes were healthy and regenerative.

The work that he did was critical to maintaining grazing lands and food production for the kingdom, and yet it largely went unrecognised…

Everybody loves a fairy tale.

But when it comes to agriculture and the work our farmers and graziers do to care for the environment, it’s more than just make believe.

That’s why at AgForce we welcome news that the Federal Government is developing a nature repair market which will reward landholders who are doing the right thing.

The Nature Repair Market Bill will enable the Clean Energy Regulator to issue Australian landholders with tradable biodiversity certificates for projects that protect, manage and restore nature. These can then be sold to businesses, organisations, governments and individuals.

Such reform presents huge opportunity to shine the light on the landowners who manage our natural capital assets in Queensland.

There has long been the assumption from the anti-ag brigade that landholders are not good custodians of the land.

But these criticisms are fundamentally flawed and need removing from the vernacular if we are to deliver the strongest outcomes from this Bill.

AgForce certainly stands behind the Government’s objective to prevent further net loss of biodiversity.

However, in order to achieve the best outcomes for Queensland, the Nature Repair Market Bill and associated reform needs to encompass both Federal and State legislation to include not only the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, but also the State legislation and regulation relating to vegetation management, regional planning, nature conservation and Reef regulations.

And as the Government embarks on drafting the Bill, we also need to ensure that industry is considered an equal in the conversation from the start.

Then, and only then, will we ensure that this reform sets up the Australian agriculture industry as a world leader of environmental, biodiversity, social, and economic measures, for decades to come.

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