Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Farmers urge Federal Government to recognise economic imperative for climate change strategies

Farmers from across the country are calling on the Federal Government to stand up for Australia’s future food security and economic viability, amidst signs of a possible political shift towards emissions reductions and the continuing bushfire crisis.

Farmers for Climate Action CEO Wendy Cohen said: “Whilst re-building grants like those we’ve seen announced today are important, the fact is that over 10 million hectares of Australia have burned and we’re already being warned of significant food price increases. Prime Minister Scott Morrison is finally talking about evolving strategies to address climate change but words are not enough. The price of failing to respond to climate change is mounting every day.

“We’re calling on the Federal Government to take the necessary next step, listen to the Australian public and move beyond the highly inappropriate use of Kyoto carryover credits – as the Prime Minister has flagged as a welcome possibility.

“Farmers have already carried far too much of the climate change burden. We must make 2020 the year we develop a plan to meaningfully reduce our emissions – the leading cause of climate change – and revitalise our economy through climate solutions.

“The future viability of Australian agriculture, and our broader food security is at risk if our Federal Government fails to take our rightful place as a leader, not a laggard on climate change.”

Bowna cattle producer and Farmers for Climate Action chair Lucinda Corrigan said: “I’ve been farming most of my life and I’ve seen fires, floods and droughts – but I’ve never seen anything like this.

“We’re now entering the second month of smoke haze over my place, and, with barely any rain over the past three months, it’s incredibly dry. It’s a hell of a backdrop to be entering the new year. That said, we’re doing better than many – as yet, we haven’t been burnt out unlike a number of our friends across the Murray Valley.

“The Federal Government has made it clear that economic responsibility is a key focus – I challenge you to find a greater threat to our economic prosperity than climate change.

“It’s time to reset the conversation around climate change and fully recognise the economic impact on regional Australia. It’s also time to support farmers to become a greater part of multifaceted  climate solutions – including payments for the ecosystem services they can and do provide.”

Ms Corrigan said she was happy to speak further with the Federal Government at any time. “We’re here to help.”

She said now was also the time to progress the national climate change and agriculture work program, announced by the state and federal agriculture ministers last year. “We urgently need the work program to be progressed and we need the policy levers in place to enable agriculture to help us remain viable over the coming decades.”

Farmers for Climate Action is a movement of farmers, agricultural leaders and rural Australians working to ensure that farmers, who are on the frontlines of climate change, are a key part of its solution.

ENDS

Media contact: Fiona Davis, 0434 505 188, [email protected]

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