Labor’s carbon farm plan a threat to food production
Source: Senator Fiona Nash
The Nationals Senator for NSW, Fiona Nash, said she worries the Labor government’s Carbon Farming Initiative will threaten prime agricultural land.
Her concerns were confirmed by a CSIRO report’s findings reported by the Sydney Morning Herald this week.
The Herald reports food production areas within the lower Murray Darling Basin could be replaced with trees under a $36 carbon price.
It also states the CSIRO report “shows a dramatic change in land use from agriculture to `carbon sinks’ of trees in the Murray-Darling, starting at just an $11 carbon price”.
The Labor government’s Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) would provide carbon credits for projects that reduce or avoid greenhouse emissions. They would be traded on a domestic voluntary and international carbon market.
The legislation is before parliament. Senator Nash said while she supports improved environmental outcomes from farming practices, she has serious concerns about Labor’s plan.
“I am very concerned that we’ll see a shift in land use for the worse, with prime agricultural land being replaced with forestry,” she said.
“What’s to stop a multi-national company from buying up productive farm land and plant trees to offset its emissions and boost its environmental credentials? There is scant detail on how these threats will be managed. In fact, there is scant detail on how this program will work.”
Senator Nash questioned how the scheme would be administered and audited, and the associated costs.
“Like Labor’s carbon tax, I worry the costs of administering this scheme will be exorbitant and passed onto our farmers.
“What worries me the most is the Labor government will use the scheme to justify the inclusion of agriculture in a carbon tax.
“The CFI contains more questions than answers. Labor cannot be trusted and does not have the ability to properly manage a policy of this complexity.”