Kakadu’s Traditional Owners enter first carbon farming agreement

A carbon farming agreement with Traditional Owners at Kakadu ensures that ancient land management practices will help underwrite the future of Kakadu park tourism and provide a sustainable post mining transition for Traditional Owners.

Under the Australian Government’s Emissions Reduction Fund, Savanna Fire Management Projects (also referred to as Carbon Farming Projects) are earning Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) by carrying out controlled burns during the early dry season to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from late dry season wildfires.

Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley has presented the national park’s Jawoyn ‘3 Clan’ Group (Bolmo, Wurrkbarbarr, Matjba), and Garnditjbal, Yurlkmanj and Wurngomgu clans with the agreement during a two day tour of Kakadu focussing on the Federal Government’s $216 million investment in tourism upgrades.

“Traditional Owners will be able to sell the accrued ACCUs to provide Indigenous employment opportunities and create other community benefits,” Minister Ley said.

The Wurrk Carbon Farming Agreement between Traditional Owners, the Northern Land Council and the Director of National Parks recognises the role of ancient land management practices in not only helping native species but in reducing emissions.

Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor welcomed the announcement as part of the Government’s continued action to reduce global emissions.

“This agreement builds on our commitment to ensure Australian farmers, businesses and Indigenous communities have opportunities to undertake emissions reduction projects that provide local benefits,” Minister Taylor said.

“The land sector has made an oversized contribution to Australia meeting and beating our Kyoto targets, and it will continue to play an important role under the Government’s Climate Solutions Fund.

Jawoyn Traditional Owner Ryan Barrowei said the carbon farming agreement has immediate and long-term Indigenous benefits.

“Traditional fire management supported our way of life over many thousands of years – making use of resources and helping to create the landscapes and diversity of native species found in the park today,” Mr Barrowei said.

“Carbon farming in Kakadu provides our next generation with more opportunities to learn traditional ways of caring for country. It strengthens the vital culture of knowledge sharing in the park, and will lead to stronger employment pathways for the Indigenous community.”

Minister Ley said the revitalisation of Kakadu’s tourist potential through the federal government’s $216 million investment program, ERA’s commitments to remediating the ranger uranium mine site, an historic MOU securing long term security for the town of Jabiru and the Wurrk carbon farming agreement all spelt a positive story for Australia’s World Heritage site and for the communities who are at its heart.

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