National Farmers' Federation

Agriculture’s exclusion from CPRS coverage provides greater certainty to food and fibre producers

RESPONDING formally to Minister Wong’s announcement yesterday that agriculture would not be covered under the CPRS, but farmers would able to be part of the solution through alternate means, NFF President David Crombie said NFF was “very encouraged” and looked forward to further discussion on the details.
“This is a victory for common sense. Credit needs to go to the Government for this announcement and the Coalition for their support on the issue.
“Given the complex, biological nature of farming systems and the fact that our international competitors have ruled out covering their farming sector’s emissions, this is a positive outcome and will provide more certainty to our farmers.
“Just as important is discussion that farmers may be able to be part of the solution and receive recognition, through alternative policy mechanisms, for the valuable work they do sequestering and storing carbon, not only in trees but in soils, pastures and crops.
“This is a complex area and we look forward to close engagement with the Government on how these alternatives will be designed, taking into account developments with the Kyoto carbon accounting rules, and drawing on international examples of carbon mitigation policies for the agriculture sector.
“For NFF, ensuring flexibility in the legislation is vitally important so that we can develop these alternate mechanisms for agriculture to continue to contribute and gain recognition for doing so is vitally important.
“Finally, it must be recognised that this decision does not include the agricultural processing sectors, who will still be covered by the CPRS and those costs undoubtedly passed back to farmers. This is an issue that the Coalition has rightly raised and one on which we will be seeking more clarity.
“NFF will be discussing these matters with the Government and Opposition this week, in order to ensure as favourable an outcome as possible for our farmers and the nation as a whole, given our ability to be part of the solution to this challenge.
“All in all, there is more water to pass under this bridge, issues to be dealt with and details to be worked through, but certainty regarding coverage is a significant step forward and NFF will continue to engage constructively in this debate as we have from day one.”

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