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Tuesday, 23 August 2011
Page: 9054

Mr DREYFUS (IsaacsCabinet Secretary and Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency) (17:17): In closing, I again welcome the in-principle support of the opposition for this legislation but express our disappointment that the opposition has not seen it possible to support what is needed by Australian land managers, which is a lasting framework for assessing methodologies and rewarding land sector abatement. In this Carbon Farming Initiative we have the investment certainty that the land sector has been looking for and needs to be part of the solution to climate change.

No-one should be in any doubt about the depth and breadth of consultation that the government has engaged in, starting in October 2010 and going right up to the passage of the legislation through the House. The government has continued that consultation through the Land Sector Working Group. There was consultation with Indigenous groups. Up to February this year, some 350,000 organisations attended consultation meetings and some 280 formal submissions were received, and we have had further submissions on the draft regulations since they were published on 1 June.

With the Carbon Farming Initiative we have something that will provide new economic opportunities for farmers, forest growers and landholders—something that will help the environment by reducing carbon pollution. We have a scheme that will enable participants to generate Carbon Farming Initiative credits for reducing greenhouse gas emissions or increasing the carbon stored on their land. These are credits which can be sold to companies needing to offset their emissions.

The Carbon Farming Initiative will create demand for new skills and services, boosting rural and regional employment. It will be supported by the Carbon Farming Skills program that the government announced as part of the Clean Energy Future plan announced by the Prime Minister on 10 July. There will also be new employment and economic opportunities for Indigenous land managers who will be able to earn carbon credits by using their skills and knowledge of the land to reduce emissions or increase the carbon storage in trees and soils on their land. I commend the bill to the House.

Question agreed to.