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Climate package biodiversity and NRM investment a big win for WA

The Australian Greens say funding from the carbon price package will be used to boost natural resource management programs across Western Australia.

Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on natural resource management said today that protecting and valuing the land and our biodiversity is an important part of tackling climate change.

“The package provides $1.7 billion of independently managed funding which will be used to protect biodiversity and assist natural resource management,” Senator Siewert said today.

“This package will increase carbon in the landscape but will also increase our environment's resilience in the face of climate change.

“Areas of Western Australia, such as our South West are already being affected by climate change. As a biodiversity hot spot, it is critical that we act now to reduce the impact of climate change on the unique flora and fauna found across the region. This package delivers that outcome.

“This package will give a much needed boost to the work being done in natural resource management in WA. Over the last couple of years funding for important programs in many areas has declined, this money will increase spending in this vital area.

“To ensure this occurs, a $3 million carbon farming skills package will be used to ensure the programs work well and help create jobs in rural Australia.

“Under yesterday's announcement, we will see the development of a permanent fund to support land stewardship, biodiverse plantings in key areas and restoration and protection of biodiverse carbon stores.

“I am pleased that the Greens have secured an amendment to the CFI that expands carbon sequestration rights beyond those holding exclusive native title to those with non-exclusive native title as well. This will significantly help indigenous land management.

“Enhancing and restoring carbon in the landscape and creating jobs in rural Australia is a win-win for the climate and the community,” Senator Siewert concluded.

Protecting biodiversity, helping land managers and creating jobs in rural Australia through the carbon price agreement:

- The Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) to provide an incentive for a wide range of activities which protect and enhance carbon in the landscape

- An independent Land Sector Carbon and Biodiversity Advisory Board to be established to oversee the funding of biodiversity conservation and CFI related activities

- Landscape carbon funds to be increased from the CPRS's $40 million to $1.7 billion over the first six years, including the following:
  - an ongoing biodiversity fund worth $948 million over the first six years to directly support projects that establish, restore, protect or manage biodiverse carbon stores;
  - a $429 million Carbon Farming Futures initiative to help landholders participate in the Carbon Farming Initiative through research, innovation and on the ground action;
  - a $250 million to be used to purchase of CFI credits not yet recognised internationally (such as from soil carbon projects);

- Natural Resource Management (NRM) groups to be supported ($44 million) to update regional plans assist in dealing with planning challenges created by the CFI;

- A $22 million indigenous carbon farming fund to support indigenous participation by developing skills, governance arrangements and methodologies; and

- A $4 million carbon farming skills package to support rural jobs creation and provide advice to those on the land; and

- Biomass from native forests will no longer be counted as renewable energy.

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