10 July 2012
The real costs to Queensland’s primary producers lie in not taking acting against climate change, Agriculture Minister and Queensland Senator Joe Ludwig said today.
In a media release issued late yesterday, Queensland Agriculture Minister John McVeigh showed blatant disregard to the costs that farmers will be forced to wear if we don’t continue to tackle changes in our climate.
“Putting a price on carbon is about making sure we have a clean environment and good farming conditions into the future,” Minister Ludwig said.
“Climate change will result in greater variability in our weather, which means increased drought, flooding and more unpredictability. These are real threats to our agricultural productivity as well as the ability of Queensland farmers’ to remain competitive.
“How Minister McVeigh expects to make agriculture a pillar of Queensland’s economy by scaring farmers away from taking action to reduce these threats, and the unnecessary costs that come with them, defies all logic.
“I note that Minister McVeigh didn’t name the source of his figures projecting the cost of pricing carbon. Australian Treasury modelling clearly found that agricultural output will continue to grow under a carbon price, with gross outputs predicted to increase by 130 per cent between 2010 and 2050.”
Minister Ludwig said the Federal Labor Government was already working with Queensland’s primary producers to take action against climate change and the costs it represents to the State’s agricultural sector.
“Queensland’s agriculture sector will not pay for its direct emissions under a carbon price. Transport fuel use for agriculture on farm is excluded from the carbon price indefinitely, and heavy on-road vehicle use will not face any impact until July 2014,” Minister Ludwig said.
“In fact, Queensland’s primary producers and landholders have a real opportunity under a carbon price to find new income streams by reducing carbon emissions.
“The win-win Carbon Farming Initiative means farmers and land managers can gain credits by taking simple measures like capturing carbon in their vegetation or soil. These carbon credits hold real market value, meaning farmers are reducing emissions and generating additional income.
“In addition, we’re investing $1.7 billion in a Land Sector Package to undertake research, demonstration and communication activities so that more farmers can be involved. We are already working with State Governments around the country, including Queensland, to roll out grants for projects under this package through the Action on the Ground and Filling the Research Gap initiatives.
“Clearly Minister McVeigh wants to stand in the way of this funding rather than work with his own Department to get money to Queensland farmers, land holders and researchers who can make real use of it.
“Already farmers are going around the State Minister to take advantage of a clean energy future, because they know the costs of not acting are just too high.
“I know Minister McVeigh is new to the job, but his claims show a real lack of knowledge about the big picture issues affecting Queensland’s agricultural production into the long term, as well as and the jobs and communities that rely on it.
“Let’s hope for the good of Queensland farmers that Minister McVeigh is simply towing the Liberal party line.
“If Minister McVeigh doesn’t want farmers to prepare for the impacts of climate change he should speak to his own Department that applied and was successful for over $2 million in competitive climate change grants. If Minister McVeigh was serious and not just grandstanding on the beck and call of the Abbott Coalition he would hand back that Commonwealth funding today.”