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Question: Climate Change Action plan

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: In March this year, the IPCC released their climate report, A Survival Guide for Humanity. This report, of course, brings into sharp focus the losses and damages caused by climate change, which are hitting the most vulnerable people and ecosystems especially hard. Climate scientists have urged for immediate action that can be taken now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to human-caused climate change.

The power of governments to reduce barriers to lowering greenhouse gas emissions through public funding and clear signals to investors, and scaling up tried and tested policy measures, is emphasised in that report. Climate-driven food and water insecurity is expected to grow with increased warming. When the risks combine with other adverse events, such as pandemics or conflicts, they become even more difficult to manage.

Changes in the food sector, industry, buildings and land use are highlighted as important ways to cut emissions, as well as moves to low-carbon lifestyles, which will, of course, improve health and wellbeing. Clearly, primary industries and the regions are key to our state's response to this climate emergency, and I note that we have a declared climate emergency in both houses of this parliament.

I note that the minister's department is contributing to the Climate Change Action Plan of the South Australian government, including a Growing Carbon Farming Pilot of $1 million. Could she please outline the full complement of projects that are within the Climate Change Action Plan of the South Australian government that come from her department?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries): I thank the honourable member for her question. I am very pleased that she is acknowledging some of the work that my department has been doing in terms of climate change. It is certainly something that I think everyone is well aware of the challenges, and also the need for action. Indeed, at one of my speeches at a conference to Adelaide University agricultural students last year, it was clear that that cohort is incredibly aware of the challenges that we are facing, not only as a state and a nation but internationally, globally, and is very keen to be part of the solution.

There are a wide number of projects and programs which my department is either looking after or is feeding into, and I am happy to bring back more details about some of those for the honourable member. She did mention the carbon farming pilot, which is a million-dollar investment initiative to encourage carbon farming adoption, and also to build the carbon market here in South Australia.

There is a grants component of that program that is providing up to $100,000 to at least six projects to help cover establishment costs, and that includes things such as technical advice and also carbon measurement. The outcomes of the pilot are increased industry knowledge and awareness of South Australia's carbon farming opportunities, and that is by demonstrating methods that have the greatest applicability to South Australia. I think that is a really important point. People who are running their enterprises here in South Australia do need to be assured that any initiatives are relevant directly to their circumstances, whether that is the particular climatic conditions here in South Australia or in their area of South Australia, whether it is the soil conditions, and so on.

Delivery of extension activities, including workshops, field days, and a case study for each pilot carbon project funded, to address the current knowledge and capacity gaps that are limiting uptake of carbon farming in South Australia, is another outcome that we are seeking, and also the demonstration of the direct financial value of carbon farming to the enterprise. We are also wanting to find increased industry knowledge and awareness of the social, economic, environmental and First Nations co-benefits of carbon farming activities in South Australia.

We are hoping to attract significant co-investment from commercial and industry partners to leverage funding outcomes. I understand the pilot had 27 applications, and they spanned a diverse range of agricultural commodities as well as South Australian regions. Applications include a variety of project types, with soil carbon sequestration and revegetation accounting for most of the activities identified. The AgTech Growth Fund has also had a new round of grants opened. If I recall correctly, that was particularly for projects that would address climate change.

I have also spoken in this place—in fact, only this week—about the Trees on Farms Initiative within the forestry sector of my portfolio. We know, of course, that trees sequester carbon and that sustainable plantation forestry is an excellent way to increase sequestration, knowing as we do that the products processed continue to store that carbon within them. Those are just some of the activities we are involved in at the moment. I also mentioned the conference PIRSA was involved in very recently, and we will continue to engage on these important matters.

 

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