Three million hectares land opens to carbon farming

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MORE than three million hectares of unallocated Crown land in Western Australia will be made released for carbon farming opportunities, to help the state reach its 2050 net zero target.

With the price of Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) expected to increase significantly by 2030, areas of WA’s crown land estate are highly sought after for carbon farming initiatives.

Traditional owners will be involved in the consultation and engagement process, with projects only going ahead with their consent.

Environment and Climate Action Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson said viable projects will deliver job opportunities in regional and remote areas, including on country for traditional owners.

The Building on the Carbon for Conservation project initiative will provide opportunities for the private sector to partner with the state government and traditional owners to create large scale carbon farming projects to help WA achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Proposed carbon farming areas will be able to take advantage of the new flexible form of land tenure known as a ‘diversification lease’, which allows non-exclusive possession to enable multiple uses of land.

Exploration for minerals and petroleum is still able to occur over areas in the proposed three million hectares. Current existing and pending mining leases and petroleum production licences (and associated tenure) will be excluded from the carbon farming areas.

“Western Australia is blessed with an abundance of land that can be utilised for carbon farming projects.

“This initiative will encourage and support on-ground solutions that contribute to offsetting carbon emissions through new investment in conservation and land management actions, particularly in our rangelands,” she said.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Stephen Dawson said this is a fantastic initiative that will promote new job opportunities for traditional owners on country as well as addressing the challenge of climate change.

“Building on the Carbon for Conservation initiative, traditional owners will be able to lead projects and contribute to the restoration and protection of country across a large swathe of unallocated crown land.

“Projects will only proceed following consultation, engagement and consent from traditional owners who will be essential to the process,” he added.

Lands Minister Tony Buti said WA’s vast remote Crown Land represent one of the biggest and most underutilised levers available to meet the state’s net zero target.

“As the world transitions to a green economy, a key part of our work is to ensure this land can be diversified and harnessed to address current and future challenges.

“This, and other sustainable initiatives such as renewable energy on Crown Land, will all be made possible through our upcoming changes to the Land Administration Act.” Buti concluded.

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