On 29th September 2021, the Australian Government launched its $22.3 million Enhancing Remnant Vegetation Pilot, which will see farmers in South West WA being paid for biodiversity benefits arising from managing their existing native vegetation.
Six regions from across the country were chosen to participate in the pilot, with the intent to roll out to other regions in the future. The Pilot, developed by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment and the Australian National University as part of a $66.1 million Agriculture Biodiversity Stewardship Package, aims to create a credible and sustainable market mechanism that improves biodiversity and creates new income opportunities for farmers.
With 55% of Australia’s land used for agriculture, farmers have a unique opportunity to act as environmental stewards. However, management of remnant vegetation adds operational costs without directly generating income. The Pilot will put a value on farm native vegetation, allowing farmers to diversity their business while building environmental benefits such as drought resilience. Fencing, replanting, weed and pest control are among the activities that will be funded under the Pilot scheme, along with the cost of utilising the land.
South West Catchments Council (SWCC), the South West region’s peak natural resource management organisation, has assisted in the development of processes and protocols to ensure the Pilot is suited to the region’s unique environment. SWCC will also assist the Australian Government in assessing sites, prior to projects being selected for funding.
SWCC CEO Sally Wilkinson said: “The South West is a global biodiversity hotspot but many of our unique ecosystems are under threat. Retaining and addressing the health of remnant vegetation in our farmed landscape is crucial and we welcome this Australian Government initiative that rewards the efforts of farmers as environmental stewards.”
To find out if you’re eligible to apply for the program, please read the Program Guidelines and Management Protocol for the South West, both available at the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment website here.
If you have any queries or require assistance in developing a project application, please contact us using the form below: