Agriculture and Water Resources Minister David Littleproud will announce a biodiversity credit scheme to pay farmers for not cutting down trees. Picture: Kym Smith
Agriculture and Water Resources Minister David Littleproud will announce a biodiversity credit scheme to pay farmers for not cutting down trees. Picture: Kym Smith

How farmers could be paid big bucks

FARMERS would be paid big bucks to not clear trees on their land under a $30 million scheme to retain biodiversity, to be announced by the Federal Government today.

Rather than using a big stick and fining farmers who clear land, the Federal Government would set up a biodiversity credit scheme, similar to a carbon credits scheme.

Farmers who pass strict qualifications will then be paid for the amount of forested land and endangered species they have on their property.

Agriculture and Water Resources Minister David Littleproud will announce a biodiversity credit scheme to pay farmers for not cutting down trees. Picture: Kym Smith
Agriculture and Water Resources Minister David Littleproud will announce a biodiversity credit scheme to pay farmers for not cutting down trees. Picture: Kym Smith

A further $3 million will be spent of a certification scheme would be developed by the Australian National University in consultation with National Farmers Federation.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said it could eventually lead to farmers receiving dual, droughtproof income streams, one for biodiversity and another for carbon credits.

"Carbon payments with the boost payment for biodiversity could be very attractive to farmers," Mr Littleproud said.

"Farmers should be rewarded for having plants and animals on their farm, not penalised by stopping them using that land without any compensation.

"I'm offering a carrot to farmers who look after biodiversity - not a big stick, which is what Labor will introduce if elected."

He said the biodiversity payments, combined with carbon payments, could be comparable with what farmers would make on the land if they were running livestock.

But specifics of how much they could be paid and what they would need to do to qualify are yet to be determined.

It is understood the bar for qualification will be set high so the biodiversity certification scheme will be internationally recognised and respected.



UPDATE: Munro Island fire brought under control

Premium Content UPDATE: Munro Island fire brought under control

The fire is currently one of five fires burning in the Clarence Valley

PETS OF THE WEEK: Furry friends ready for a new home

Premium Content PETS OF THE WEEK: Furry friends ready for a new home

Take a look at this handful of adorable pets that are up for adoption and waiting...

Spikes used in pursuit to stop man disqualified until 2052

Premium Content Spikes used in pursuit to stop man disqualified until 2052

A Coffs Harbour man will face court for an alleged police pursuit