Landmark decision to allow carbon farming on pastoral lands

About the Gascoyne Development Commission

The State Government will back carbon farming on pastoral leases for the first time in WA’s history, allowing pastoralists to build resilience to climate change and improve pastoral productivity.

The decision follows the State Government’s previous in-principle support for Human Induced Regeneration (HIR) carbon farming, which led to the registration of 43 projects through the national Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF).

HIR projects support the regeneration of native vegetation through managing cattle grazing, which sequesters carbon and allows pastoralists to earn carbon credits.

The 43 carbon farming projects have contracted more than five million tonnes of carbon abatement via the Commonwealth Emissions Reduction Fund, which will provide approximately $70 million to pastoralists.

A further 15 million tonnes are expected to be sold directly to major greenhouse gas emitters who need to purchase carbon offsets.

The Minister for Lands has been given authority to provide State eligible interest holder consent to individual projects that meet the approved assessment requirements.

The decision follows extensive consultation with the mining industry, pastoralists and Aboriginal representative bodies.

Final consent from the State Government will be subject to measures aimed at enabling the growth of the carbon farming industry, promoting co-existence with the mining and resource sector and protecting native title rights and interests, including:

  • A rolling five-year review of HIR carbon farming implementation, with input from stakeholders;
  • Pastoralist must demonstrate engagement with registered native title body corporates;
  • Mining leases, State Agreement areas and pending mining/general purpose/miscellaneous licences to be excluded from carbon project areas;
  • State Government to compensate for loss of carbon production as a result of low impact mining/exploration activities;
  • Department of Water and Environmental Regulation to develop guidance addressing Native Vegetation Clearing Permits in carbon estimations areas.

Photo courtesy: Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development

DPC media statement: Landmark decision to allow carbon farming on pastoral lands