Thu. Aug 18th, 2022

A farmer who opposed land clearing bans has rejected the National Farmers’ Federation’s proposal that grazers be corrected for their contribution to Australia’s emissions reduction targets.

As the coalition government considers setting a goal of making the economy CO2-neutral by 2050, the farm lobby has urged federal citizens to promote complaint processing for landowners affected by policies aimed at meeting Kyoto climate protocols.

Queensland grazier Adma Sargood said no level of compensation would be sufficient for the impact land clearing laws had on her family.

“You can never compensate me for what I have lost to these vegetation laws,” she told Queensland Country Hour.

A woman in a pink shirt kneels in a paddock
Adma Sargood says farmers should have the right to manage their land restored.(Delivered by: Adma Sargood)

Mrs Sargood and her late husband Scott were strongly opposed to the law, claiming it made it increasingly difficult to raise cattle on their properties in south-west Queensland.

She said farmers wanted to be able to manage their land without being hampered by government policy.

“We are not in this to break or destroy the country … It is our life … we must be able to manage our farms, our land and our trees,” Ms Sargood said.

Soil cleaning and Kyoto

During the 1990s and early 2000s, the governments of Queensland and NSW introduced bans on land clearing.

Richard Heath, chief executive of the Australian Farm Institute, said the land clearing bans helped Australia meet its international climate commitments.

“By introducing a land cleaning ban, the emissions that would have arisen from land cleaning could be credited to our emission target reduction.

“It was a really easy way to avoid a whole bunch of emissions [that] was assumed would happen.

“It went a very important way in helping Australia achieve its Kyoto targets.”

Mulga trees grow in the paddock of western Queensland
Ms Sargood says the ban on land clearing makes it almost impossible to run a profitable cattle business.(ABC Western Queensland: Craig Fitzsimmons)

Sir. Heath said it was important that farmers were part of the “solution to climate change” and that recognizing the effects of previous policies could help rebuild trust between farmers and governments as new policies to mitigate climate change are introduced.

“It is also important to recognize the way in which land clearing bans and land use changes have been the main factor that Australia has carried out towards its Kyoto targets,” Heath said.

Sir. Heath said that complying with the Kyoto Protocols through land use change meant that the focus on emission reduction, energy transition and fuel efficiency was ignored.

“We have fallen behind the rest of the world now, just because there was the easy victory through land use change that was able to take place,” he said.

Regions do not want to be finished again

The NFF has not given a figure on the cost of issuing complaints, but the appeal follows Resources Secretary Keith Pitt’s call last week for the Commonwealth to set up a $ 250 billion loan facility for future mining projects.

The proposals with large expenses come as National’s party venue may be forced to negotiate with its coalition partner on a net zero emission before the 2050 target.

When asked on Monday whether his party would approve the target, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said he did not want a repeat of the impact the Kyoto Protocols had on regional Australians.

“That’s how they did the Kyoto process.”

Joyce said citizens would ensure that any climate policy it supported would not harm regional Australians.

One of the ‘most favorable’ climate policies

Asked whether he supported the NFF’s proposal, opposition leader Anthony Albanese said land bans were one of the main reasons Australia had been able to meet its emissions targets.

“One, the former Labor government’s renewable energy target, a target they opposed.

“The second issue was the change of land clearing by state Labor governments, which was opposed by liberal and national parties on every occasion.

“These have been the two major benefits that Australia has had.”

The president of the Gladstone Conservation Council, Jan Anders, said he found it extraordinary that the NFF was seeking rewards for land management.

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