Carbon farming potential for pastoralists

Page last updated: Thursday, 18 July 2019 - 3:02pm

The Western Australian Government has stated its support for pastoralists wanting to sequester carbon through revegetation.  A number of government agencies are working on the State policy regarding the use of pastoral land for carbon farming activities. This will involve consultation with key stakeholders in the mining and pastoral industries, rangeland management and carbon agents. 

Criteria for eligible projects

Following an announcement of in-principle support for pilot sequestration offset projects by the WA Government in 2018, 35 pastoral lessees, predominantly across the Mid-West, Gascoyne and Goldfields regions, went on to successfully compete in the 7th and 8th Emissions Reduction Fund auction.

The criteria for eligible projects for which the WA Government provided in-principle support were:

  • the project is conducted on an existing pastoral lease
  • the project proponent is the pastoral lessee and not a third party
  • the project will use grazing management techniques and the human-induced regeneration project methodology is applied
  • the permanence period of the project is 25 years.

Projects will need to meet relevant State and Commonwealth legislative requirements, including consistency with the terms of the pastoral lease, native title obligations, and its impact on mining activity.

The WA Government promotes coexistence of the mining and pastoral sectors, and reserves the right to receive a return. Existing mineral and petroleum interests and the prospectivity of project areas are assessed and considered prior to State Government consent being provided. Proponents accept that the State Government does not support compensation associated with loss of carbon production resulting from exploration and other low impact activities conducted by the resource sector, and agree to modify project governance structures should the State Government consider current structures do not meet its expectations.

The in-principle support for eligible projects from the Minister for Lands allowed pastoralists to register under the Commonwealth’s $2.55 billion Emissions Reduction Fund, and the option to take part in the Emissions Reduction Fund reverse auctions. However, this provision of in-principle support did not amount to the government providing eligible interest holder consent as required under the Emissions Reduction Fund. That consent may or may not be provided at the State Government's discretion.

The WA Government is reviewing a number of outstanding policy matters associated with giving consent. Only after that consideration phase is completed will a final determination be made as to whether to provide eligible interest holder consent for these projects.

Further information

Please contact Eugene Carew at eugene.carew@dpird.wa.gov.au or telephone +61 (0)8 6552 1980.