By Zac Relph, The West Australian, 19 December 2018.
WA pastoralists have secured a major stake in the latest round of the Federal Government’s $2.55 billion fund to underpin the nation’s carbon farming opportunity, accounting for nearly two-thirds of the awarded contracts.
Twenty pastoral leases across the State emerged as successful bidders in the Emissions Reduction Fund’s eighth auction round, announced by the Clean Energy Regulator on Monday, claiming $12.8 million in total over the next decade.
It was confirmed $45 million would be issued as part of the latest auction, with 36 carbon projects sharing the spoils Australia-wide, in an effort to meet
the Federal Government’s goal to reduce emissions by at least 26 per cent by 2030 compared with levels in 2005.
Jorgen Jensen, owner of the historic Yoweragabbie Station between Mt Magnet and Yalgoo in the Mid West, was one of the successful applicants.
The third-generation pastoralist runs about 200 head of cattle at the 138-year-old pastoral lease, after he was forced out of sheep by ravaging wild dogs about six years ago.
He plans to implement a carbon farming project through rotational grazing program at the station.
Mr Jensen welcomed the opportunity and said it offered an alternative avenue for pastoralists to diversify operations. “The project is controlling grazing to allow the native shrubs to get past the juvenile stage,” he said. “Carbon farming is very well established on the east coast and there is no reason why it can’t be established here.”
“In my instance, any revenue raised from carbon farming projects, the vast bulk of it will be going back into infrastructure upgrades.”
The latest ERF commitment comes after the 15 WA pastoralists were awarded $47.5 million from the seventh auction in June. It followed the McGowan Government’s announcement in April it would support pilot sequestration offset projects, allowing the State’s pastoralists to earn money from carbon farming for the first time.