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ABC News Breakfast -

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(generated from captions) combined with an anticipated

gradual resumption of growth in

the second half. Farming

industry groups are going to

get their chance today to have

a say on the scheme when they

attend a round table meeting in

Canberra with the Federal

Agriculture minister and the

Minister for climate change.

Tony Bourke is announcing

financing for a research

package to look at ways to

reduce greenhouse gas mission

from live stock. He joins us now from Canberra. Good

morning. Good morning. There

are some pretty dire predictions about the effects

of a carbon pollution redauks

scheme on the agriculture

seconder that production could

be cut by $2.5 billion a year

by 2020. What sort of cuts in

production are you expecting?

Can you guarantee there won't

be any falls in production? The report you refer to was a

report that started with the

presums that there would be no

there would be no change in change in behaviour from ption that

behaviour from farmers.

There will be adaptation,

that's why we've announced the

dollars. research and development

dollars. That's why we're

moving forward to make sure we

can marry up the methods

involved in redye reducing

emission with the methods

required to improve

productivity. A beef cow emits

1.5 tonnes of carbon gases each

year, what sort of R and D

initiatives do you think can be

used to cut that down

used to cut that down and by

how much can that be cut? There

has been limited amount of

research done on this in the

world so far. That's why the

Government decided to increase

our allocation for research in

this area, from $15 million to

$46 million. Today, we've

announced more than $20 million

worth of projects, which go to

the live stock emission part of

the live stock emission part of

it. Some of this goes to

breeding options, some to

better feed options. Some of it

goes to dealing with the

bacteria in the stomach of the

animal to try to reduce the

amount of methane that then

comes out of the mouth. When

the research has been started,

it's the scientists best placed

at the end of that research to

say houch how far they're able

to go. The reason we're funding

this research is out of a

determination to make sure that

we can get this matching up

between reducing emissions and

improving productivity. You

point out that report was based

on no improvements in R and D.

But there will be significant

costs to be borne by the

agricultural sector, won't

there, with transport and

fertilise er? There is no

cost-free method of dealing

with this. It's also true,

though, that the costs of doing

nothing are much, much

greater There was a study put

out by Abare a little more than

a year ago which said what

would be the hit Australian ing

a cult cure took if we did

nothing - Australian

agriculture am you were talking

agriculture am you were talking

about an extraordinary hit in

our export markets, standard

commodities in terms of

domestic productions taking 10%

hits. The cost of doing nothing

is nuch more than the costs of

action. The transport costs you

refer to, issues relating toist

cos of farm inputs, those costs

are real. But the alternative

is far worse. Can you give

farmers a rough indication for

example of how much transport

costs are going to increase for

them? In a percentage

fashion? In terms of the fuel

costs feased on farm the carbon

pollution reduction schemen the

White Paper provides farmers

initially with a rebate of

extra costs put there to try to

minimise the impact on them.

But the costs of inputs, will

be affected. To be able to give

precise calculations you've got

to take into account there

thank there is massive global

fluct waigs happening over the

last couple of years on enput

prices, far greaterer than any

impact from the carbon

pollution reduction scream. To

give a precise figure is

something that you come' pretend to be able to

offer. That's not much good for

farmers who are really

concerned this is going to send

farmers to the wall. I don't

think there is any modelling

that would suggest

that. Certainly it's the case

that farmers are the most

affected by climate change.

They are climate dependent in

so many ways. So they've got

the most at stake in making

sure Australia and the world

get our policy approaches to

this right. The other thing

that is often forgotten when we

deal with emissions, emissions

are another form of waste.

They're another way in which

the farm inputs go in and you

end up with something coming

out that's not part of your

productive outcome. That's why

with the live stock emissions we can get

we can get better efficiency if

we can find ways through this

scientific research of being

able to reduce emig. Similar to

the work the Government is doing with respect to soils.

Means you can have a reduced

reliance on chemical and

fertiliser because you're doing

better work at storing the

carbon within the soil. You can't underestimate the extend

to which there's productivity

based outcomes in the research.

Sadly for a long time in

Australia, very little research

in this area was being done.

That's for longer the case.

Thanks for talking to us.