$32.1 million for agriculture biodiversity stewardship

12 May 2021

•    2021-22 Budget confirms the Australian Government’s commitment to promoting biodiversity stewardship on agricultural land
•    Australia’s agriculture industry depends on a biodiverse and well-managed resource base
•    Payments for biodiversity projects could help farmers diversify their businesses and take advantage of new revenue streams

The Australian Government is delivering $32.1 million in new funding to trial new programs to increase biodiversity on farms.

Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud said this investment extends opportunities to reward farmers for biodiversity stewardship and comprises:

•    $22.3 million to deliver a pilot program to protect and manage existing high value native vegetation
•    $5.4 million to implement an Australian farm biodiversity certification scheme
•    $4.4 million to establish a Biodiversity Trading Platform.

“Australia’s farmers are some of our greatest environmental stewards,” Minister Littleproud said.

“They play a key role in maintaining healthy ecosystems which are critical for future production, the environment, regional communities and the broader economy.

“We’re expanding our original support for agriculture biodiversity stewardship of $34 million to create market opportunities for farmers who look after biodiversity. It’s a win-win for farmers and the environment and contributes to the Ag2030 agenda.

“For example, this new funding will allow around 140 farmers to participate in a pilot for enhancing existing native vegetation. It will trial a market approach to biodiversity improvements by rewarding better long-term management of high value remnant vegetation.

“This is part of our agenda to use markets to help deliver environmental outcomes and returns to farmers.

“The program is designed to rejuvenate unproductive land that has existing high value native vegetation while making sure that productive land is left for our farmers to decide how to use.    

“A Biodiversity Trading Platform will enable farmers to connect with buyers of biodiversity outcomes and kick-start private sector biodiversity markets.

“There is growing global market interest in higher environmental standards for exported agricultural goods so implementing our farm biodiversity certification scheme will give our producers enhanced credibility and an export market edge.”

For more information visit www.awe.gov.au/budget

•    This Budget builds on actions already taken by the Australian Government to drive agriculture’s competitiveness and growth, laying the foundations to support industry reach the target of $100 billion in farmgate value by 2030.
•    Agricultural land managers are responsible for managing over 50% of Australia's land mass. 
•    The 2019 Budget measure ($34 million) for the Agriculture Stewardship Package funded the design and testing of the Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot and the design of the Australian Farm Biodiversity Certification Scheme. 
•    The existing $23.5 million Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot provides opportunities for farmers to receive payments for improving on-farm biodiversity in conjunction with carbon abatement projects. 
•    New stewardship market opportunities will pave the way for private sector investment and new income streams for farmers.