Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment the Hon Dan Tehan MP
Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries the Hon Jonno Duniam
Member for Gippsland the Hon Darren Chester MP
The Morrison Government is delivering on an election commitment to make it easier for plantation and farm forestry projects to generate carbon credits under the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) and access the $2 billion Climate Solutions Fund.
In July 2020, the Government simplified access to carbon funding for forestry projects across five plantation growth regions. Today the Government is expanding access for four new regions in Tasmania, Gippsland (Victoria), the Green Triangle (Victoria) and Kangaroo Island (South Australia).
Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said sustainable forestry would be an important source of offsets in the decades ahead, helping Australia meet and beat its emissions reduction targets while growing a strong economy.
“It’s important to recognise that our goal is net zero, not absolute zero emissions,” Minister Taylor said.
“While technology will bring down emissions across many sectors, there will still be greenhouse gas emissions in 2050 and beyond.
“That’s why the Morrison Government is focused on expanding the supply of low cost, high integrity offsets available under the Emissions Reduction Fund, through soil carbon, forestry and other initiatives.
“Expanding supply will give Australian businesses and customers the option to offset their emissions where it makes sense for them to do so.
“Since 2014, the ERF has committed $2.2 billion to projects in regional and rural areas, with more funding available through the $2 billion Climate Solutions Fund.”
Federal Member for Wannon, Dan Tehan welcomed the announcement.
“Sustainable forestry has been bringing down emissions for decades,” Mr Tehan said.
“Wannon has a proud history of timber production, it’s fantastic that these plantation and farm forestry projects can now be recognised for their vital role through the ERF.”
Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries Jonno Duniam said the Government was committed to growing the plantation estate and supporting forestry jobs by enabling the sector to participate in the ERF.
“As we all know, timber is the ultimate renewable resource and forestry presents a huge opportunity for low-cost carbon abatement that is productive, and delivers an economic return to the investor,” Assistant Minister Duniam said.
“Opening up these new regions will give foresters an additional revenue stream option, increase returns and incentivise investment in new plantation development.
“Unlocking key forestry regions for ERF participation is a key component of our National Forest Industries Plan, and we are delivering.”
Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester welcomed the announcement.
“Our region has a proud heritage in timber production and a great future in sustainable environmental projects of this nature,” Mr Chester said.
“I look forward to working with Gippslanders and the Federal Government to deliver local benefits under this program.”
The Clean Energy Regulator, which manages the ERF, expects a record of 17 million tonnes of abatement to be credited this year. This year, the ERF hit a milestone of 100 million carbon credits issued, making it one of the world’s largest offset schemes.
The CER will shortly commence consultation on a new plantation forestry method, which is due to be finalised before the end of the year. The new method is expected to further simplify access to carbon funding for forestry projects.
The initial locations covered in July 2020 were: South West (Western Australia), Green Triangle (South Australia), North/North West (Tasmania), North East (New South Wales) and the South West Slopes (New South Wales and Victoria). These areas have now been expanded to cover most of Tasmania, Gippsland (Victoria), the Green Triangle (Victoria) and Kangaroo Island (South Australia).
The Government will consider adding future forestry hubs on a case-by-case basis, subject to appropriate arrangements being in place to manage water impacts. All ERF projects will continue to be required to meet relevant state or territory government rules and regulations.
The revised rules follow consultations with the Victorian Government, farm and plantation industries and other stakeholders, and are in line with recommendations in the King Review.