A $100 billion agriculture industry and tens of thousands of jobs benefiting the country’s hardest hit regional communities are possible with sensible action from the federal government, according to a new report from Farmers for Climate Action.
Crookwell sheep farmer and Farmers for Climate Action deputy chair Charlie Prell said: “Our agricultural communities have endured the impacts of severe drought and the bushfires and kept food on Australia’s tables during the COVID crisis.
“As we rebuild our economy we have a once in a generation opportunity to create tens of thousands of jobs in renewables across regional Australia and advance this country’s agricultural interests, all in a clean, progressive and sustainable way.
“To do this we need robust action from the federal government outlined in this $1.8 billion package, which is a small fraction of the predicted $4.2 trillion loss in cumulative damages to agriculture and labor productivity brought about by climate change by 2100.”1
Regional Horizons outlines four priority areas for federal investment with many of the initiatives outlined already with in-principle support from government. The report calls for:
The delivery of the National Climate Change and Agriculture Work Plan, which is already under development. Done well, the plan could play an important role coordinating efforts to promote climate-smart agriculture and build regional resilience to drought, fire and other mounting risks
A Land and Environment Investment Fund, working from the successful Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), to support innovation, attract large-scale investment, reward ecosystem services, and promote climate solutions for farmers. A thriving landscape carbon industry alone would generate up to $10.4 billion in revenue and create up to 15,750 jobs by 2030.
A Regional Resilience Hub Network to strengthen and diversify existing learning networks, encourage innovation, and empower regional communities with choices in a changing climate.
A Regional Energy Transition Program, to promote and support community-based, clean energy developments, and modernise and decentralise power grids
Longreach grazier Jody Brown, a Farmers for Climate Action supporter, said: “I have seen first-hand just how important it is to have a support network and community around you when you’ve been operating under stressful and challenging circumstances.
“Being able to adapt to increasing climatic pressures requires a shift in practices, which can be quite daunting if you have no one around you to speak to about it.
“Entering the carbon market is really interesting to me as a potential source of additional income.
“But like a lot of farmers, I’d really benefit from a network for people in my own climatic region, so we can share data and information before taking the plunge.
“The Regional Resilience Hubs would bridge that divide, providing the support and information that people need.”