Australian agriculture has always operated in a varied and challenging climate. The continued success of the industry will depend on our ability to innovate and adapt to manage climate and other.
As the world looks to reduce carbon emissions, Australian agriculture must respond to reaffirm its place in the global economy. Australian agriculture has an opportunity to take advantage of the social, environmental and economic opportunities presented by a low emissions future but it must also do so in an economically sensible manner.
The National Farmers Federation (NFF) supports an economy-wide aspiration of net zero emissions by 2050 provided:
• there are identifiable and economically viable pathways to net neutrality, including impacts from inputs such as energy; and
• Commonwealth and State legislation is effective, equitable and advantageous to deliver on ground programs that benefit agricultural interests and do not provide unnecessary regulatory impediment.
The NFF’s position will allow producers, industry bodies and agriculture as a whole to establish credible baselines and assess the implications of the policy.
Policy at all levels must recognise the previous, current and future role of profitable and productive agricultural businesses in the context of climate change response and provide a pathway for sustainable agricultural development.
In Australia, agriculture has led the emissions reduction effort over the past 30 years.
A transition to a low emissions economy will require transformation across a number of complementary sectors, especially electricity and transport. Policy adjustment and investment in research & development will be crucial to meet this task. It is critical that policies that address climate change are fully examined to minimise the risk of perverse outcomes and that deliver equitable outcomes for Australian farmers.
However, governments and industry service providers must have the tools, systems and knowledge required to establish an industry baseline, and be able to communicate this to farm businesses. This is a key knowledge gap.
In the long-term, the NFF believes the following will place Australian agriculture as a global leader:
• focusing on carbon neutral technologies that provide a competitive advantage for existing products;
• collaborating across all of industry to make the greatest gains from the adoption of the latest research and development;
• enhancing partnerships with private institutions, government and other industries outside of agriculture; and
• developing an Agricultural Sustainability Framework to integrate strategies across the whole of agriculture.
What we want Government to do?
• focus on innovation and investment in climate research and development that provides robust baseline information, drives innovation and builds resilience, and supports communication, adoption and extension;
• embrace the opportunities for emissions reduction and sequestration in the farm and forestry sectors and facilitate participation of farmers and foresters in carbon markets and natural capital markets;
• support adaptation and ensure that agricultural productivity and farm business profitability can be sustained with changing climatic conditions; and
• compensate farmers for lost productive capacity due to land clearing legislation imposed on land managers.
To view the NFF’s Climate Change Policy, click here.
For recent submissions related to Climate Change, click here.