Farmers’ group calls for climate change funding

By Jamie Salter

A $100 billion agriculture industry and tens of thousands of jobs benefiting the country’s hardest hit regional communities is possible, according to Farmers for Climate Action.

In a new report, the group has called for $1.8 billion from the Federal Government to help create a sustainable future.

Farmers for Climate Action deputy chair Charlie Prell said agricultural communities had endured the impacts of severe drought, bushfires and the coronavirus.

“As we rebuild our economy we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create tens of thousands of jobs in renewables across regional Australia and advance this country’s agricultural interests, all in a clean, progressive and sustainable way,” Mr Prell said.

“To do this, we need robust action from the Federal Government outlined in this $1.8 billion package, which is a small fraction of the predicted $4.2 trillion loss in cumulative damages to agriculture and labour productivity brought about by climate change by 2100.”

Goulburn Valley Environment Group president John Pettigrew said renewable energy was recognised around the world as one of the most important job creation areas.

“It’s certainly important that our farming communities right throughout the Goulburn Valley adapt to climate change, and part of that is moving to new technologies, including solar power, to offset costs,” Mr Pettigrew said.

“I think it’s important that varying industries in the Goulburn Valley communicate and work together more, to look at alternatives.”

Mr Pettigrew said some areas had a movement called ‘clusters’, a collection of industries with an appointed manager, and suggested one be made within the Goulburn Valley.

The Farmers for Climate Action report, Regional Horizons, outlined four priority areas for federal investment, including:

● The delivery of the National Climate Change and Agriculture Work Plan, which could promote climate-smart agriculture and build regional resilience to drought and fire risks.

● A Land and Environment Investment Fund, working from the successful Clean Energy Finance Corporation, to support innovation, attract large-scale investment, and promote climate solutions for farmers.

● A Regional Resilience Hub Network, to strengthen and diversify existing learning networks, and provide regional communities with choices in a changing climate.

●A Regional Energy Transition Program, to promote and support community-based clean energy developments, and modernise and decentralise power grids

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