The Conservation Council of WA (CCWA) has welcomed the announcement that the McGowan Government will allow carbon farming trials on pastoral leases in Western Australia’s vast rangelands, as a step towards an emerging clean economy that will provide the jobs of the future.
CCWA Director Piers Verstegen said, “Allowing native vegetation to regrow in the rangelands has the potential to remove carbon pollution from the atmosphere, provide new jobs in the regions, and help protect wildlife and biodiversity.
“Reducing stock levels and improving pastoral lease management to encourage native vegetation growth provides habitat for wildlife, and allows ecosystems to recover from overgrazing and other pressures.
“Carbon farming also has the potential to provide a new income stream for outback land managers including Aboriginal communities and Indigenous ranger groups.
“However, if carbon credits are to be claimed and sold to offset pollution from other sources, it will be important to ensure that any sequestration meets the highest international standards for permanence, and are verified as genuinely additional to business-as-usual.
“Until now, the opportunities for carbon farming in WA’s rangelands have been untapped and largely unknown, but the trials will help to demonstrate whether a significant carbon farming industry is possible in WA.
“The trials will help understand the potential for reducing carbon pollution in WA grazing systems through destocking and other management methods.
“Carbon farming is one of a range of opportunities for WA to become competitive in an emerging global clean economy. Combined with our significant renewable energy resources and clean technology potential, these industries could provide the jobs and growth of the future.
“If the trials are successful, carbon farming in WA’s rangelands could play a significant role in offsetting spiralling pollution from WA’s gas industry, helping to capture jobs and investment here, rather than seeing LNG profits go offshore.”