North West farming success
I thoroughly enjoyed spending time in the North West of my electorate last week. Touring around Robert Hoddle’s orange farm near Gunnedah was a highlight. It was great to witness a successful harvest, and to see farmers looking at how innovation can apply to the citrus industry. With water so scarce at the moment, it’s pleasing to see it being used efficiently.
While in town, I caught up with Gunnedah Shire Council Mayor, Jamie Chaffey, to hear about how Gunnedah is progressing despite the dry times.
I was very impressed to hear about the 40,000 test plots being grown at the University of Sydney’s Plant Breeding Institute in Narrabri. Researcher Graeme Rapp showed me a test plot of mustard seed and spoke to me about the future possibilities and potential of this crop.
This week I’ll be heading to the Central West for more electorate travel – I’m looking forward to attending the Orana Joint Organisation meeting in Narromine on Monday, where agenda items will include local government, drought, roads and infrastructure.
Fast-tracking Inland Rail
While in Narrabri, it was fantastic to announce an exciting Inland Rail initiative, joined by Narrabri Shire Council Mayor Cathy Redding and Gilgandra Shire Council Mayor, Doug Batten.
Strategic business cases will investigate opportunities for the communities of Narrabri, Gilgandra, Coonamble and Baradine to create better connections with Inland Rail. With connection comes opportunity, and by fast-tracking this work, we can ensure these communities benefit sooner rather than later.
Investigations will be undertaken into the cost and benefits of;
• Upgrading the Gilgandra-Coonamble line;
• Improving the road/rail interface at Narrabri; and
• Enhancing the connection at Baradine’s grain silos;
to facilitate better connections with Inland Rail. I’m looking forward to seeing these important investigations progress.
Review of Emissions Reduction Fund methods
A committee review of two Emissions Reduction Fund methods has commenced – the Avoided Deforestation 1.1 method and Avoided Clearing of Native Regrowth method – and landholders and other interested parties can put forward written submissions by 9 October.
This will be of interest to landholders who use either or both of these methods, and I encourage interested parties to read the discussion papers and have their say.
The ‘avoided clearing of native regrowth’ method can be used by landholders who have repeatedly cleared native forest for cropping or grazing. Landholders who can demonstrate two past clearing events and the intention to clear again, may earn carbon credits for instead protecting their forest.
The ‘avoided deforestation’ method sets out the requirements for projects to reduce emissions by protecting native vegetation from being cleared. This method updates an existing Carbon Farming Initiative method to make it consistent with the Emissions Reduction Fund.
In 2014 the Government allocated $2.55 billion to provide for purchasing in the Emissions Reduction Fund. Activities supported through the Fund provide important environmental, economic, social and cultural benefits for farmers, businesses, landholders, Indigenous Australians and others. For more details, see www.environment.gov.au/climate-change/government/emissions-reduction-fund
Photo Caption: Member for Parkes Mark Coulton touring Robert Hoddle’s orange farm near Gunnedah last week, along with Gunnedah Shire Council Mayor Jamie Chaffey.