The Gillard Labor government has announced another major step towards establishing the Carbon Farming Initiative, a carbon offsets scheme that will provide new economic opportunities for farmers, forest growers and landholders and help the environment by reducing carbon pollution.
The Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Greg Combet, said the government was releasing draft legislation and methodology guidelines for the scheme.
“While there is still work to be done, the government is making these early drafts available now to give stakeholders more information on how the proposals described in the consultation paper released last November would work in practice,” Combet said.
“Potential participants in the scheme will be able to gauge how they might get involved and help to identify any gaps or unintended impacts of the legislation.
“They will also be able to see the type of information that independent experts on the Domestic Offsets Integrity Committee (DOIC) will be assessing in draft methodologies, and the evidence DOIC will require to recommend a methodology to the government for approval.”
The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, said: “The initiative also includes communication activities for local producers to learn about carbon offset markets - some of this work will be done through Landcare groups and local networks.”
As part of the consultation process, a series of workshops and meetings were held in Sydney, Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Darwin and Canberra to seek stakeholder feedback. Experts also considered how the draft legislation would operate in real-world scenarios during a ‘stress-testing’ workshop held in December 2010.
The workshops involved peak bodies representing farm, forest and landfill sectors, including the National Farmers’ Federation, National Association of Forest Industries, Australian Plantation Products and Paper Industry Council, and The Australian Landfill Owners Association. Individual businesses, environmental NGOs, indigenous groups, state and territory governments and technical experts also participated.
Information will continue to be released as details of the scheme are developed and the government makes further progress towards implementation.
Additional legislative provisions for carrying out offsets projects on Indigenous lands and projects under the joint implementation mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol will be released early in 2011 for consultation with indigenous communities and other stakeholders.
Combet said the government welcomed stakeholder feedback on the details of the scheme. Feedback will help prepare final legislation and guidelines following closure of the consultation paper submission period on 21 January 2011. Further information on the Carbon Farming Initiative is available on the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency website at www.climatechange.gov.au/cfi.