The newly appointed members of the independent Land Sector Carbon and Biodiversity Board have an exciting and challenging job to manage $1.7 billion in funds to protect biodiversity and create jobs in rural Australia and indigenous communities, the Australian Greens said today.
"The $1.7 billion biodiversity funds are one of the most exciting aspects of the Clean Energy Future package," Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said.
"Instead of only weak emissions trading scheme, this time we have the four pillars of a carbon price and investments in renewable energy, energy efficiency and landscape carbon. Today's board announcement is a critical part of one of those pillars.
"One of the features I am especially pleased with is the immediate benefit to indigenous communities through recognition of changed savannah burning regimes. This will create long-term benefits for indigenous people and for the country to which they are so profoundly connected.
"Unlike the CPRS‘s $40 million for monoculture tree planting, the biodiversity funds in this package will help carbon farming initiative projects be biodiverse, protect remnant vegetation and enhance standing forests and degraded wetlands, providing secure habitat for Australia's wonderful flora and fauna as well as storing carbon.
"Farmers and communities have been crying out for funding to help improve stewardship of the land over and above the Caring for Our Country funding, and now this will happen.
"We will be keeping a careful eye on this week's Mid-Year Economic Forecasts to ensure that Caring for Our Country is not cut.
"A well-managed, permanent fund to support land stewardship, biodiverse plantings in key areas and restoration and protection of biodiverse carbon stores will not only increase carbon in the landscape but will also increase our environment's resilience in the face of climate change.
"Enhancing and restoring carbon in the landscape and creating jobs in rural Australia is a win win for the climate and the community.
"The Board has an exciting challenge ahead of them and I wish them all the best in their work."