Local landholder and Cobar Shire Councillor Peter Yench last week took part in an Emissions Reduction Fund Roundtable discussion in Dubbo.
Mr Yench was invited to attend the meeting which was part of the Climate Change Authority’s consultation on its review of the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) legislation which governs the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF).
Mr Yench has been a strong advocate and a pioneer for Carbon Farming in the Cobar area and is one of approximately 50 local landholders who have benefited from the scheme.
He is now calling for the changes to the current rules that apply to avoid the deforestation methodology including removing the June 2010 cut off date that landholders were required to have Property Vegetation Plans (PVPs) in place to be able to access the scheme.
“By doing this, this would open up the availability of multiple abatements in Western NSW and deliver Western NSW as a capital for Carbon Storage,” Mr Yench said in his submission to the Climate Change Authority.
“This would also mean a reduction in the price ACCU’s [Australian Carbon Credit Units] and a flow-on effect to reduce the cost of power/electricity and products.”
Mr Yench said the changes will also lead to an increase in landowner’s income capabilities; employment opportunities; create opportunities to increase plantations to allow current storage to increase; and increase the carrying capacity of land through affordable management.
Mr Yench estimates that if the legislation is changed then there’s the possibility that over 400 properties in the local area could be capable of carbon storage.
“I would like to see this happen and open the gate for them to be able to participate,” he said.
Mr Yench said he intends to put forward a notice of motion to the next Cobar Shire Council meeting calling for council’s support on the matter.
He already has the support of fellow councillor Janine Lea-Barrett, who is also a local landholder. Mrs Lea-Barrett has also written to the Climate Change Authority in support of a review of the legislation.