Farmers are insisting the federal government needs to compensate landholders who helped Australia reach earlier emissions reduction targets if it is to win the industry’s support for a net-zero-emissions economy.

Key points:

  • The president of the National Farmers’ Federation will be speaking with federal Nationals on Monday
  • Fiona Simson says farmers must be compensated for land-clearing legislation introduced in the 1990s and 2000s
  • Those policies helped Australia meet its commitment under the Kyoto protocol

The National Party is considering under what conditions it might support the Coalition backing a net-zero-emissions-by-2050 target ahead of a global climate summit in Glasgow at the end of the month.

On Monday, National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) president Fiona Simson will tell the Nationals party room that “appropriate redress must be provided” to farmers affected by land-clearing legislation.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, bans on land-clearing were imposed by state governments to reduce emissions by sequestering carbon in vegetation.

The policy helped Australia meet its international climate commitments under the Kyoto protocol.

Ms Simson said the legislation had removed farmers’ property rights without providing compensation.

In a statement, Ms Simson referred to the impact of the Kyoto policy as a “festering sore, created by statutory theft”.

“If done today, landholders would be eligible to participate in the Emissions Reduction Fund or a secondary carbon market and receive income for this activity, but not then,” she said.

However, it is not clear how many landholders were affected by land-clearing rules, and Ms Simson did not put a financial figure on redress the NFF was seeking.

It could be that the NFF wants landholders to be granted carbon credit units for the emissions offset by not clearing farmland, which could then be traded under the federal government’s Emissions Reduction Fund.

Queensland farm lobby group AgForce’s president, Georgie Somerset is expected to join Ms Simson for Monday’s briefing.

The Nationals have so far refused to endorse a net-zero-by-2050 target, however, the NFF initially backed the idea in August last year.

The Minerals Council of Australia has also endorsed net zero by 2050.

Last week, Resources Minister Keith Pitt said the federal government should become a financier of last resort for the mining industry and create a $250 billion loan facility for future projects.

Mr Pitt and some of his Nationals colleagues were concerned that banks could stop financing the mining sector if Australia committed to a carbon-neutral economy by 2050.

However, the deputy leader of the Nationals, David Littleproud, said it was too early for his colleagues to be making demands in return for their support of a net-zero-emissions target.

Posted , updated 

Farmers demand compensation for ‘festering sore’ left by Kyoto climate targets
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