Major Step: Australia’s Big Climate Pledge for Agriculture

The new "National Statement on Climate Change for Agriculture" has bipartisan support.

Fri 14 Jul 23


The Australian Government has released, for the first time, a National Statement on Climate Change and Agriculture.

The statement, which has the bipartisan support of all Agriculture Ministers, was released after meetings on Wednesday.

Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Murray Watt said the national statement is an important step forward as the nation looks to decarbonisation to meet climate targets.

“This national statement is a shared commitment by Federal, State and Territory Agriculture Ministers to provide leadership and work in partnership with our agriculture sector,” Minister Watt said.

“This statement is a snapshot of where Australia’s ag industry is now and a clear-eyed assessment of future work that needs to be done.”

The ministers met for the first time face-to-face in three years on Wednesday. Footage courtesy of Footage courtesy of @SkyNewsAustralia.
Agricultural ministers back timber security, industry pushes for more trees

Yesterday, Wood Central reported that the ministers committed to a Timber Fibre Strategy and a new work plan with five key priorities. 

Wood Central understands that forestry has an important role in the push towards net zero with the abolishment of the ‘water rule’, announced last week, incentivising investment in agroforestry. 

According to Australian Forest Products Association CEO Joel Fitzgibbon, the forest products sector is important in decarbonising Australia’s economy.

“The collective commitment from the ministers on support for the Timber Fibre Strategy along with future work plan priorities for the sector is welcomed,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.

“Support for the Timber Fibre Strategy is particularly noted because it shows a real commitment from ministers to work with and listen to the sector and stakeholders.”

Current Agriculture and Forestry Minister Murray Watt (left) with then Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Rural Affairs and current Australian Forest Products Association CEO Joel Fitzgibbon (centre) dated 2019. (Photo Credit: Townsville Bulletin)
Australia is doubling down on its commitment to decarbonisation

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced that Australia has signed up to the Climate Club, an alliance of nations that aims to decarbonise industry and pursue net zero emissions by 2050.

“We also want to expand our existing energy partnership and develop it into a climate partnership to fight climate change even more effectively,” Prime Minister Albanese said.

“My government has set the ambition for Australia to be a renewable energy superpower, but we also want to be a renewable energy export superpower, working with countries like Germany on the industries of the future,” he said.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz review the troops during a meeting in Berlin. (Reuters: Fabrizio Bensch)
Australia is investing in woody biomass to meet climate goals

Last month, Wood Central reported on the Government’s push to establish a greener aviation market by launching the Jet Zero Council.

Led by Qantas, Virgin, Boeing, Airbus, BP, Brisbane Airport Corporation, and the Department of Defence, the council is pushing to use biomass from timber and forest products to develop low-carbon aviation fuels.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency will invest $30 million into the project, with the Government pushing for Australia to become a global leader in green fuels.

Demand for woody biomass fuels is surging, with the International Energy Agency (IEA) reporting demand for biomass from short-rotation woody crops and agricultural land will increase five-fold over the next 30 years.

Demand for forest and wood residues, short rotation woody crops and forestry plantings will boom over the next 30 years. (Source: IEA 2021: Roadmap to Net Zero by 2050 Report, Licence: CC BY 4.0)

In South Australia, Kiland – formerly Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers – is involved in the world’s largest biomass project.

Over the next decade, Kiland will convert woody residues from 10 million bushfire-impacted trees converted into 900,000 tonnes of biomass.

Kangaroo Island Plantation Timber’s managing director Keith Lamb (left), with former director Shauna Black and forestry operations manager Brian Stewart among fire-damaged blue gum trees. (Photo credit: Sean McGowan)

Federal Transport Minister Catherine King announced the launch of the Jet Zero Council and its membership following industry talks in February.

“We are formalising the membership of council so that we can begin that work of not only building a Sustainable Aviation Fuel industry here in Australia but also… look at reducing emissions,” she said.

The CEO of Bioenergy Australia spoke to Sky News Australia about the role that SAF in Australia’s net zero transition. Footage courtesy of @SkyNewsAustralia.

Energy Minister Chris Bowen said a local SAF industry could create thousands of jobs while reducing Australian airlines’ dependence on imported fuels.

“The world’s climate emergency is Australia’s jobs opportunity… a homegrown, sustainable aviation fuels industry could create more than 7400 jobs by 2030, most of them in regional areas,” he said.

“Australia’s strong agricultural sector means we could be a global leader by scaling up domestic production of renewable fuel for exports.”

A Climate-smart industry is pivotal as agriculture builds resilience

According to Murray Watt, a climate-smart, sustainable agriculture sector will make farming and forestry more productive and profitable, better protect our environment, increase access to international markets and strengthen our rural communities.

“There are emerging opportunities to act on climate change in the agricultural sector, and this statement demonstrates that we have the means and the will to get there.”

In May, the Australian Government announced a $300m commitment to help farmers improve agricultural productivity.

“The Natural Heritage Trust will support farmers to improve agricultural productivity, competitiveness and sustainability across the country.”

“Through effective on-ground projects, we will support farmers to manage climate risks and invest in their on-farm natural capital and effective natural resources management.”

“This will help the sector to respond to climate change,” Murry said.

“So we can better withstand future bushfires, floods and droughts and protect its productivity.

According to the Minister, strong investment in agriculture and agroforestry will help the industry adapt to future natural disasters. (Photo Credit: Adelaide Now)

“These shared efforts between governments and industry focused on a climate-smart, sustainable sector will help make farming more productive and profitable.

“It will better protect our environment, increase access to international markets and strengthen our farming communities,” he said.

“By providing an opportunity for national collaboration that drives change and underpins climate-smart practices, it allows the industry to ensure that the future of agriculture will be as prosperous as possible.”


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    Wood Central is Australia’s first and only dedicated platform covering wood-based media across all digital platforms. Our vision is to develop an integrated platform for media, events, education, and products that connect, inform, and inspire the people and organisations who work in and promote forestry, timber, and fibre.


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