Dear Minister Bowen,
Please stand up for farmers.
My name is Phil Gardiner, I am a fourth generation farmer from Moora in Western Australia.
Woodside, one of the largest gas companies in Australia, has been active in my region, buying up farmland around my community so it can ‘offset’ the climate pollution it creates from extracting and selling gas. This is a way for them to band-aid over their pollution without actually having to reduce emissions. It’s bad for farmers who are facing competition from huge gas companies over land, and also will hurt our local communities.
Farmers need you to stand up for us by taking stronger action on Australia’s biggest climate polluters and ensure agriculture isn’t left to pick up the pieces.
We need strong climate policy to hold big emitters to account and to ensure that we genuinely reduce emissions as quickly as we possibly can, using offsets as a last resort.
We welcome your Government’s commitment to action on climate change, including a focus on big polluters cutting their emissions. But we are concerned that your proposed changes to the Safeguard Mechanism could let big polluters continue emitting and place undue pressure on agriculture to clean up their mess.
We’re worried that it will encourage more companies, like Woodside and others, to buy up productive farmland that we use to grow the food and fibre that feeds Australia, turning it into offsets for their polluting business.
Farmers are working hard to reduce our own emissions. Many farmers may want to or need to use their credits to offset their own emissions, as it may become an important part of maintaining market access.
We want to keep working with you on climate solutions. We all need to stand up for farmers and not allow polluting oil, coal and gas companies to use unlimited offsets from farmland as a cheap accounting trick to meet their emission targets.
Moora Sheep Farmer