Source: WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development
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  • The WA government releases three million hectares of state-owned land for carbon farming in an effort to help aid climate change mitigation and improve biodiversity
  • The land is being released as part of the state’s Carbon for Conservation project to help private businesses partner with the government to create carbon farming projects in WA
  • Under changes to land tenure laws announced by the WA government in November, proposed carbon farm projects can take advantage of a new “diversification lease”
  • This allows for non-exclusive possession of the land so projects can co-exist with other land activities in the same area
  • Traditional landowners will be “integral” to the new carbon initiative, according to the WA government, and new projects will only be given the green light following their consent

The WA government has released three million hectares of state-owned land for carbon farming in an effort to help aid climate change mitigation and improve biodiversity.

The government land, also known as Crown land, is currently unallocated and managed by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.

The land will now be released as part of the state’s Carbon for Conservation project, which is designed to help private businesses partner with the state government and traditional owners to create large-scale carbon farming projects in WA.

Alongside reducing WA’s carbon output and improving its biodiversity, the initiative is designed to create new green jobs for local workers.

Simply put, carbon farming refers to the process of changing agricultural processes to have lower carbon emissions than conventional practices.

Whether it’s by increasing the amount of carbon stored in soil or vegetation or by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from livestock, soil, or vegetation, carbon farming is ultimately designed to be a more eco-conscious method of agriculture.

Environment and Climate Action Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson said WA was “blessed with an abundance of land” that could be used for carbon farming projects.

“This initiative will encourage and support on-ground solutions that contribute to offsetting carbon emissions through new investment in conservation and land management actions, particularly in our rangelands,” Ms Sanderson said.

“It will help our state achieve net zero emissions by 2050. While emissions reduction is our priority, we recognise the need for offsets in hard to abate industries.”

Under the state’s plans, proposed carbon farming areas on the newly-released Crown Land will be able to take advantage of a new type of land tenure known as a “diversification lease”.

This comes under a set of changes to land tenure laws announced by the WA state government in November.

The diversification lease will allow for non-exclusive possession of the land so projects can co-exist with other land activities in the same area.

Lands Minister Toni Buti said WA’s “vast expanses” of remote Crown Land represented one of the “biggest and most underutilised levers” available for the state to reach its net-zero targets.

“As the world transitions to a green economy, a key part of our work is to ensure this land can be diversified and harnessed to address current and future challenges,” Mr Buti said.

“This, and other sustainable initiatives such as renewable energy on Crown Land, will all be made possible through our upcoming changes to the Land Administration Act.” 

Traditional landowners will be “integral” to the new carbon initiative, according to the WA government, and new projects will only be given the green light following their consent.

The WA government today said it would be inviting high-level carbon farming concept proposals in 2022.

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