Climate policy welcomed

By Country News

Farmers across the country have cautiously welcomed the Australian Labor Party’s climate policy released last week.

Under the climate policy, Australia’s 250 biggest polluting businesses would have to cut or offset emissions but could make money by selling carbon credits if they overachieve, if Labor wins the next federal election.

But Opposition leader Bill Shorten is promising exemptions from the new scheme for major industries like agriculture.

Farmers for Climate Action chief executive officer Verity Morgan-Schmidt said the policy put agriculture at the heart of climate solutions and set Australia on track to meet its Paris commitments. However, she expressed concern that the ALP had not ruled out supporting new thermal coal.

‘‘We’re constantly reminding politicians that farmers are on the front line of climate change and need to be a key part of its solution. It’s encouraging to see this policy include opportunities for farmers to deliver solutions via an expanded Carbon Farming Initiative,’’ she said.

‘‘The agriculture sector is already moving on climate change, with our goal of a carbon neutral red-meat sector by 2030. We’re delighted to see support for this initiative.

‘‘Farmers across Australia have long called for certainty and bi-partisanship around these issues.’’

Nationals leader Michael McCormack claimed agriculture would ‘‘almost be shut down’’ under the plan.

‘‘The diesel fuel rebate will have to go under Labor’s policies. You won’t be able to grow cotton or rice under Labor’s policies. You won’t be able to irrigate under Labor’s policies,’’ he said.