The agriculture minister, David Littleproud, has declared Australian business is “hungry” to pay farmers to protect biodiversity under a “world-first” scheme designed to reward environmental improvements alongside emissions reduction. Last week’s federal budget included funding for a multi-stage agriculture biodiversity stewardship package that aims to make it attractive for farmers to both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lift biodiversity protection on their land. The goal in part is to create a climate and environment policy that appeals to farmers and will not be criticised by Coalition MPs otherwise opposed to steps to reduce emissions. Speaking on the ABC’s RN Breakfast on Tuesday, Littleproud said Australia would be the first jurisdiction in the world to measure and reward improvement in biodiversity on farming land. He said it would offer farmers who had been approved to generate carbon credits through projects to reduce emissions – such as restoring or not removing vegetation – an extra upfront premium payment for additional steps that also emphasised biodiversity protection. It could require them to plant a mix of species consistent with the landscape, and manage and look after the vegetation. One of the architects of the scheme, the Australian National University environmental policy specialist […]

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