The capacity of our regional communities to adapt to climate change is being undermined at their hour of greatest need - warn the Australian Greens.
"With drought and drier periods becoming the norm rather the exception we urgently need new ways to assist farmers to deal with climate variability and manage seasonal risk. Unfortunately because Governments have been in denial for so long, Australian farmers aren't now as well equipped as they should be," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.
"The old policy settings won't work anymore. We need to move forward with a regional planning approach to adaptively managing climate risk and help farmers put in place adaptation and mitigation measures," she said
Evidence to the Senate Inquiry into Agricultural Adaptation to Climate Change last week highlighted that we would need to deal with the impacts of climate change of agriculture at a regional level, and that regional capacity would be fundamental to our ability to adapt.
"At the same time the Commonwealth is undertaking these series of studies and the Senate Inquiry is showing the need to support and expand regional capacity, the Environment Minister, Peter Garrett is undermining our ability to respond - by slashing funding to regional NRM groups and Landcare networks through Caring for Our Country," said Senator Siewert.
"There are some real success stories out there of farmers and researchers developing profitable systems that are more resilient to climate variability - but unless we maintain and extend our regional networks we won't have the capacity to get the message out and make these systems work at a local level," she said.
"We need a whole-of-government approach to climate adaptation," concluded Senator Siewert.