Abbott vows no carbon forestry on prime farmland

20 Jan, 2010 11:32 AM
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THE Opposition has ruled out any expansion or incentives to the forestry industry at the expense of prime agricultural land ahead of its release of a revamped policy for dealing with climate change without an emissions trading scheme.

Opposition leader, Tony Abbott, will unveil the Coalition's new policy for dealing with emissions when parliament resumes on February 2, but is promising to protect prime agricultural land traditionally under attack from encroaching forestry plantations and development as a result of special incentives.

This week's confirmation will help heal key areas of policy difference between the two Coalition parties which have triggered embarrassing public division in the past.

The Liberals have long been in favour of the development of the forestry industry for carbon sink purposes, however The Nationals and The Greens have vehemently opposed the incentives such as tax breaks for carbon sinks because of the threats posed to agricultural production and food security.

Last year, then-leader, Malcolm Turnbull, also backed calls for millions of hectares of land to be planted to trees to help sequester carbon emissions.

The Nationals have twice joined with the Greens and crossed the floor on the issue since late 2008.

This week Opposition environment spokesman, Greg Hunt, confirmed that while their still-to-be-released policy would have encouragement for soil carbon measures and revegetation "it would not provide incentives for foresting over prime agricultural land".

"We are going to make sure prime agricultural land is properly protected and not converted to reforested land," Mr Hunt told the media this week.

The Opposition says it can still meet its commitment to reducing emissions to the same level as the Government has promised, and this policy will not affect that.

FarmOnline National News Bureau, Parliament House, CanberraSource: http://www.farmonline.com.au
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READER COMMENTS

the lorax
21/01/2010 5:39:23 AM

From the party that gave us managed investment schemes and did the deal with Qld and gave us the anti clearing laws now want to tell us where we can replant trees. How are they going to police it? WHo determines what it prime agricultural land? What if I want to plant my property to trees am I going to be told I do not have the right.
Common Cents
21/01/2010 6:08:57 AM

Wow the Liberals have learned a little from Great Southern collapse. But not enough to dump the greens it seems. Most of Australia is marginal land and many of our most successful farmers operate in the more marginal areas. Tony you had your chance at the priesthood - please don't play God with our farmer's freedom to make a living as best they can from the land entrusted to their care. Listen to the support for Peter Spencer's protest. They may be few in voting terms but they know what is best for our land, the people and our economy. Take care or they may rise up like Gideon's army to defeat the gregarious green cancer that has invaded our political system.
for goodness sake
21/01/2010 7:11:43 AM

Common Cents. Surely, now is the time to work with each other and improve on our relationships with one another. Greens and Nationals, Liberals and Labor. We all want the same thing. What we believe is best for Australia, it's people, and it's fauna and flora. Without all these things Australia is gone. My wife taught me an important lesson once, one which I'll always remember; 'Good relationships are built on being able to compromise'... I'm bloody stubborn. And an extremist. I've learnt to compromise. It's not easy, but it's do-able! Hold your arms out wide. The left hand and the right hand are the extremes, in the middle is where the brains are.
Ian Mott
21/01/2010 7:49:59 AM

The only farmers who have not already been ripped off by the native vegetation laws are those who have cleared every stick to the boundary fence. Those who have retained trees in the past, for all the obvious economic and environmental benefits, have been betrayed at the most fundamental level. And the green thugs and venal departmental scum will not be given another opportunity to betray us again. It never needed to be that way but nothing will restore the trust in our system that has been so completely squandered. The vast area where trees have always had a competitive advantage has already been taken out of the equation by departmental corruption. No tree = no bull$hit = no dead$hits = no stress = no health problems. You made your choices, now live with the consequences.
daw
21/01/2010 7:57:16 AM

Hey lorax and common cents what are you on about? Here for the 1st time in a long while we have a politician saying what us land holders want to happen. Clearly the opposite of what Peter Spencer has been through. Perhaps at last someone has got the message that slow growing trees won't convert GHG's to innocuous elements any where near as fast as fast growing crops and pastures. Clearly the arguments about locking up carbon has run off the rails. Locking up a bit of carbon achieves absolutely nothing. The arguments should be about converting GHG's. The current hypocrasy is that Govt's are allowing, indeed encouraging the extraction of carbon (in the form of coal) by the millions of tonnes per year and then burning it to produce CO2 plus other GHG's (NOx, SOx). To add further to this the process consumes huge amounts of the stuff animals need to survive (oxygen). I say cut down some of the trees and grow more grass
the lorax
21/01/2010 8:14:45 AM

Daw, The devil will be in the detail about how they will operate such a policy. One of the reasons Abbott and the libs gave for not voting on the ETS was a lack of detial on the regulatiosn of the ETS, well no diffrence here. This is a motherhood statement designed to capitlise on the fear of lost property rights (that they took) to get votes, happily dividing the communtiy for thier own benefit and societies and the natiuons detriment. Abbott is no different from any other politician they will say what they need to get into office and then the big lobby groups will get in his ear and the farmers will be forgotten. You have voted for them before and they took your property rights, so now they wnat you to vote for them so they wont take anymore. Ian -we have found your spivs.
Brad Bellnger
21/01/2010 9:34:00 AM

Well done Tony Abbot, a new leader with new policies and finally a Coalition that is concerned about food security and does not just mouth the words.
Oh please!
21/01/2010 9:39:26 AM

Trees, schmees... why is the whole pollution (called by it's real name) 'thing' a farmer problem? Let's make it hard for city folk as well. Here's an idea...for every 10km you drive your thumping great 4WD in & around North Sydney, you have to pay a farmer to plant 10 ha of pasture. Would this help to take the emotion and blame out of the debate? There is no blame to be thrown over the Great Divide. If there is a carbon problem (big IF - yet to be supported by independent, non-politically funded studies) then surely it has been caused by us all?
daw
21/01/2010 10:11:22 AM

Lorax, What about all the other reasons - like, an ETS will just be another great big slush fund for the Govt to squander at its will. An ETS does nothing to contribute directly to GHG conversion. All it is, at best, is a negative, punitive stick to wield and hope that industry will do 'something' to avoid the tax. If it doesn't too bad consumers will have to wear the Extra Tax in the System. I have not voted for either of the big parties for many elections. It is my considered opinion that we are better served by independents (but that is an argument for another day. what is needed, right now, is to take actions for the betterment of both Australia and the world. One such thing is to fast track the construction of Geothermal Power Stations (no pollution, no use of nonrenewable sources of energy, no waste to dispose of, very low water consumption, base load generation available 24/7) and stop burning so much coal. There is not one murmur from the current Govt about this so we must look to the alternatives.
for goodness sake
21/01/2010 10:45:33 AM

I agree there 'Oh please!'. City dwellers are often overlooked. There are many ways cities can be a part of the solution. Unfortunately, as always, it's up to the people, as our 'leaders' are all as gutless as each other!
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