Removal of water rule essential for forestry

Removal of water rule essential for forestry

The Forestry Industry Association of the NT (FIANT) is calling on major political parties to scrap the water rule in the Carbon Farming Initiative during this election campaign. The water rule prevents forestry plantations that receive over 600mm of annual rainfall from selling carbon credits under the Emissions Reduction Fund.

‘The water rule is unfairly stunting the growth of the forestry industry in North Australia. Scrapping the rule is critical to driving investment into new forestry plantations and operations in the Northern Territory.’ Said Frank Miller, President of FIANT.

‘The rule was originally intended to stimulate forestry plantations in dry regions however, it never achieved this aim and has now created an unequal playing field throughout Australia.’

‘All of the Territory’s forestry plantations receive over 600mm of rainfall and therefore are ineligible to access and sell carbon credits from their operations. The rule places Territory plantations at a significant economic disadvantage to southern plantations which are allowed to produce an additional income from carbon credits. Furthermore, it disadvantages Indigenous forestry enterprises as it prevents them from generating an additional income through carbon credits prior to harvest.’

‘The rule also has an impact on mixed farming enterprises that seek to offset their carbon emissions from cattle or cropping operations. The operations cannot access an additional revenue stream nor can they market their products as carbon neutral.’

‘Since the water rule was implemented, the industry in the Territory has struggled to attract new investment. Investors have ignored the Territory in favour of plantations in jurisdictions where the water rule does not apply and economic returns are higher.’

‘If political candidates are serious about creating jobs and helping Australia achieve its carbon offset targets, it is essential that they commit to scrapping the water rule. Legislative courage on this issue will be pivotal to helping Australia achieve its 1 billion trees planted by 2030 target.’

‘During the last federal election the Australian Labour Party announced that it would remove the water rule. We hope that both the Liberal and Labour Parties commit to scrapping the rule during the election campaign. Removing the rule will attract much needed investment into the Territory and generate new jobs in regional areas’

The rule is damaging the industry and costing the Territory jobs, it has to go.” Mr Miller stated.

Source: FIANT