According to the Prime Minister, the Biodiversity Credit Scheme will mark the beginning of a “national restoration” of Australia’s environment.
Anthony Albanese said the scheme, which was unveiled at an event in rural New South Wales on Friday, would work much like a carbon credit scheme.
Farmers receive biodiversity certificates or credits for planting vegetation along hillsides to stop erosion and protect local soils.
It will also provide corridors for the survival of endangered species and reward the creation of connectivity between different habitats.
At the Daily Telegraph’s Bush Summit, the prime minister said putting a market value on biodiversity would help protect the environment.
“As we move towards net zero, we are creating a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to not only protect Australia’s natural environment, but to initiate a national recovery,” he said at the summit.
“As companies look to invest in carbon offset projects such as planting trees, they need to make sure there is a way for farmers and the environment to benefit.”
Under the scheme, farmers will be able to mix and plant native species and receive certificates for managing existing vegetation.
“We need to protect waterways, provide habitat for native species, reduce erosion, protect topsoil, make it more drought resilient and create shelter for livestock,” he said. .
The Australian Land Conservation Alliance estimates that more than $1 billion (US$700 million) is needed annually to rehabilitate and prevent further landscape degradation.
Companies that need to offset their inevitable environmental impacts could be potential buyers in the biodiversity credit market.
Albanese also used the speech to outline a $75 million fund to provide mitigation to NSW communities devastated by floods earlier this year.
Funds are provided by the Contingency Fund and are used for flood impact and risk management reports, levee assessments, and flood warning infrastructure.
The funds will cover all areas of 62 municipalities affected by the floods in February and March.
“As you grapple with climate change and the ever-increasing cycle of floods, fires and droughts, there is nothing but governments to help you,” Albanese said.
“Those seeking a true understanding of climate change should look for it here. Farmers see its impact every day. No ideological opt-out clause – you live with it.
Also at the summit, Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek announced $2.4 million for water efficiency projects in NSW.
The Nap Nap Station Water Efficiency Project will recover 150 megalitres of water for the Murray-Darling Basin Project. This is done by upgrading pipes, pumps and tanks to prevent water loss.
“Water recovery targets under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan are important to all Australians, not just the millions of people who live and work in the basin,” Plibersek said.