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Landcare facilitators to play key role in Carbon Farming Initiative

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The Gillard Government has announced further consultations with farmers and landholders on the Carbon Farming Initiative, an important initiative to enable rural and regional communities to benefit from climate change projects.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, and Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Greg Combet, said Regional Landcare Facilitators will work closely with farmers, Indigenous groups and other landholders to identify how they can benefit from the Carbon Farming Initiative.

Regional Landcare Facilitators will be invited to a national forum in Canberra in March this year, followed by state and territory based training days from March through to June.

Once the Carbon Farming Initiative legislation is in place, in mid 2011, the Government will support a series of workshops in the 56 Natural Resource Management regions to help communities better understand carbon markets and how to take part.

Indigenous Land Management Facilitators working under the Caring for Our Country program of the Environment Department would also be involved.

“Landcare has a long history of working with farmers and other land managers to benefit from sustainable land management practices,” Minister Ludwig said.

“Regional Landcare Facilitators are in a unique position through their community networks to help land managers understand how the Carbon Farming Initiative will help them.”

Mr Combet said the Government would also look for opportunities to expand the rollout of information on the Carbon Farming Initiative using the expertise of other natural resource management and farming groups.

“The Carbon Farming Initiative will allow rural landholders to reap the benefits of their efforts towards tackling climate change by earning income from undertaking approved emission reduction and sequestration activities,” Mr Combet said.

“Rural landholders will be able to participate in and benefit from the Carbon Farming Initiative by generating and trading carbon credits.”

Many activities that reduce greenhouse gas emissions or sequester carbon also have the potential to produce benefits for farm productivity, biodiversity and natural resource management.

Under the Carbon Farming Initiative, the Government will invest $45.6 million over the four years from 2010–11 to 2013–14 to establish a carbon crediting mechanism for land-based activities, fast-track development of methodologies for carbon offset projects, and give farmers the knowledge, capacity and confidence to generate, and benefit from, carbon credits.

The Government will continue to work consultatively with landholders and others. Formal submissions on a November 2010 consultation paper on the proposed design of the Carbon Farming Initiative have been extended until 4 February 2011. The Government has also released draft legislation and methodology guidelines for public discussion and comment by 4 February 2011.

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