The Australian Government will shortly begin consultation on new legislation aimed at creating a national biodiversity stewardship market to facilitate private sector investment in farmers who improve the environmental condition of their land.
Through the Agriculture Biodiversity Stewardship Package, the Australian Government and Australian National University have developed processes and protocols for measuring and rewarding farmers for enhancing biodiversity. South West Catchments Council (SWCC) was one of only six organisations chosen to partner on the development of the Package’s Carbon + Biodiversity and Enhanced Remnant Vegetation pilots, to ensure that methodologies are appropriate to landholders in the South West region.
The new legislation will develop a market and associated Biodiversity Trading Platform to provide the private sector with an easy, credible and cost-effective method to demonstrate corporate social responsibility by investing in on-farm biodiversity. Farmers will be rewarded with a drought-proof income for boosting biodiversity on less productive areas of farmland, through activities such as revegetation, planting, weed and pest control, and fencing.
SWCC’s CEO, Sally Wilkinson, said: “The development of a market for biodiversity services is a fantastic step towards valuing nature for its intrinsic benefits to us all. Increasing biodiversity not only means more wildlife, but also improved soil and water quality and increased pollination of crops. Linking farmers with investors will improve the environment whilst also providing income for work that, until now, has gone unrewarded.
“We know that farmers in the South West want to leave the land in a better condition for future generations and this is one step towards achieving that goal.”
The Government will consult with key stakeholders on the proposed legislation and scheme design. Read the Minister for Agriculture Hon David Littleproud MP’s announcement here.