Carbon farming initiatives in Far North Queensland are set to receive more than $1.4 million in funding to the thanks to the Palaszczuk Government’s flagship $500 million Land Restoration Fund.
The two projects are part of the six that will share in more than $4 million under the Catalysing Action Grants program.
Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef Leeanne Enoch said carbon farming is an emerging industry that has real opportunity to create new jobs and revenue for regional communities.
“These grants provide funding to support ‘on-ground’ projects that demonstrate the delivery of carbon farming activities alongside measurable environmental, social and economic co-benefits.
“One project, which is a partnership between Tablelands Regional Council, Native Conifer Carbon Sink Pty Ltd (NCCS) and two landholders, will receive $745,750 for a new project to plant 25 hectares of native pines and other vegetation adjacent to native bushland at Ravenshoe and Topaz to restore rainforest.
“It will demonstrate a cost-effective way to restore rainforest and enhance landscape connectivity, as well as benefit the Great Barrier Reef as sediment run-off will be reduced,” Ms Enoch said.
“This is a great initiative and will demonstrate a way to deliver economical carbon projects on the Atherton Tablelands.”
Mayor Joe Paronella from Tablelands Regional Council, said carbon farming is an excellent use of former dairy and cattle properties.
“The land is no longer used for dairying or beef cattle, and isn’t suitable for cropping,” said Mayor Paronella.
“Carbon farming allows us to diversify the economy while improving the landscape.”
A new blue carbon project in Far North Queensland will also receive funding.
Blue carbon refers to the carbon stored in coastal wetlands, including mangrove forests, saltmarsh and seagrass beds.
Ms Enoch said World Wide Fund for Nature Australia will be allocated $693,000 for a ‘blue carbon’ project to restore tidal connectivity and wetlands on degraded cane land.
“Through restoring natural wetlands this project will also create a habitat for local and migratory birds, as well as fish and other marine species,” she said.
“We want to see more organisations, landholders and graziers become involved in carbon farming. This industry will not only help reduce our emissions it will also diversify the economy.”
Mr Andrew Rouse the Sustainable Agriculture Program Manager at the World Wide Fund for Nature Australia, said he’s thrilled to receive the funding.
“Coastal floodplain wetlands play an important role in improving water quality and carbon storage services,” said Mr Rouse.
“Ninds Creek catchment, near Etty Bay, has a history of landscape modification, which has resulted reduced water quality and habitat for fish, such as barramundi and mangrove jack.”
“The funding will facilitate restoration of tidal wetlands in the Ninds Creek catchment, and in doing so will help local farmers to better manage agricultural land and to secure on-going payment (carbon credits) for ecosystem services created.
“It’s a win-win for farmers and the environment.”
Other projects funded as part of this program include supporting traditional fire management practices in the Burnett-Mary catchment and revegetating the banks of the Bremer River.