Rowan and I appeared at the Senate inquiry into the Carbon Farming Initiative Amendment Bill 2014 this week.
The Committee wasted no time in flagging their interests.
Would you be competitive against energy efficiency projects? No, we said, and you can see this because the current CFI projects tend to be ‘bolt-on’ rather than brand new.
Would you prefer the existing arrangements? Yes, the Emissions Reduction Fund will make it harder to make a profit.
What are the prospects for future employment? Everyone is concerned. Continuity is required to sustain these projects and a number of groups are waiting for more certainty before they commit their resources more deeply into carbon farming.
In our submission and in presenting to the Committee, we have tried to paint a picture of an industry that has started well, is supporting jobs in places where opportunities are few and is building healthy relationships with corporate Australia – Indigenous carbon projects are about so much more than lowest cost abatement. So far there are 11 savanna projects which have produced over 400,000 carbon credits – the equivalent of taking 70,000 cars off the road for a year. The problem is that cutting off the start up funding, turning the screws on eligibility and turning off the tap on buyer demand will mean the good start is at risk.
Did we make an impression? I hope so.