· Pilot to reward farmers for improving their native vegetation is open
· The program closes on 27 October 2021.
· Six regions will be able to participate in the pilot with the intent to roll out to other regions in the future
· The aim of the pilot is to create a credible and sustainable market mechanism that improves biodiversity and creates new income opportunities for farmers
Applications for the Australian Government’s $22.3 million Enhancing Remnant Vegetation Pilot have opened and are being received through until October 27.
Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said the pilot was a key component of the $66.1 million Agriculture Biodiversity Stewardship Package to help farmers get paid for improving biodiversity on-farm.
“Alongside the Carbon plus Biodiversity Pilot, the Enhancing Remnant Vegetation Pilot is trialling a market-based system that will see farmers being paid for their biodiversity management,” Minister Littleproud said.
“Over time, the aim is to roll these pilots out to more farmers, making them widely available and fuelled by private sector investment.
“This pilot aims to reward farmers who put up projects to protect, manage and improve remnant native vegetation.
“What that looks like could vary from farm to farm. It may be as simple as fencing off native vegetation and undertaking enhanced weed control, or it could be protecting pockets of remnant vegetation and linking them through revegetated corridors.
“We’re putting a value on farm native vegetation. It’s good for the environment, and farmers can make a buck out of it.
“This is a great opportunity for farmers to build their drought resilience by diversifying their on-farm income.
“Farmers are the stewards of the land, and their role in environmental stewardship has been overlooked for far too long.
“We want to recognise farmers who take steps to improve environmental outcomes on their land while encouraging the private sector to invest in this innovative scheme.”
As part of the pilot, the Australian National University (ANU) has created the processes and protocols that measure and reward farmers for undertaking the projects, delivering a system that will be respected by international markets.
- The Agriculture Stewardship Package now totals $66.1 million, with $32.1 million provided in 2021, and $34 million provided in 2019.
- Six Natural Resource Management (NRM) regions across Australia will be able to participate in the pilot: Burnett-Mary (QLD), Central West (NSW), North Central (VIC), North Tasmania (TAS), Eyre Peninsula (SA) and South-west (WA).
- The pilot is being trialled with on ground support and advice from the regional NRM organisations.
- Regions have been selected, amongst other criteria, to test the program across a range of jurisdictions, farming systems, and vegetation types, and to complement and compare the trial with the Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot.
- The trials are designed to test the underpinning systems and frameworks of the approach to ensure credibility with the aim to create a sustainable market mechanism.