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NFF backs changes to recognise carbon credits as farm income

The National Farmers’ Federation has praised Federal Government changes to see Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) and biodiversity credits treated as farm income.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud announced the Government would make the adjustment to the primary production definition of ACCUs and biodiversity credits.

NFF Chief Executive Tony Mahar said the change was due recognition that income related to carbon and biodiversity were part of the farm business. It is also consistent with policy analysis the NFF has progressed under the Australian Agriculture Sustainability Framework (AASF) project.

“The correction will allow income from these ‘non-traditional’ commodities to receive similar treatment under a farmers’ tax arrangements including income averaging, and access to Farm Management Deposits,” he said.

“It is also expected to clarify the timing of bringing the income to account, which is preferred to be when it is priced, not before.”

Mr Mahar said the future of agriculture would likely be a dynamic farm system of multipurpose landscapes where traditional commodities like food and fibre contributed with maintained or improved attributes from carbon sequestration, biodiversity and other natural capital systems.

The NFF continues to work on the development of the AASF which includes exploring a range of tax and other policy measures needed to make agriculture’s role in sustainability identifiable, credible and participatory in a fit for purpose legislative environment.

“The NFF’s Roadmap for $100 billion in farm gate return by 2030 includes a goal for five per cent of farmers’ income to come from natural capital by the same year. Today’s change supports this goal,” Mahar said.

The AASF is designed to promote the broad sustainability characteristics of Australian agriculture. It includes three principal areas of focus: 1) better evidence base to our critical international markets 2) increased transparency for Environment Social and Governance (ESG) priorities of the corporate, especially value chain participants, and 3) greater demonstration of sustainability attributes to satisfy the increasing appetite of international capital markets on inherent risks to their book.

The AASF also seeks to develop national scale data sets to inform its 45 identified sustainability criteria. Programs such as Agforce’s AgCarE and the MacDoch Foundation’s Farming for the Future initiative will greatly assist in developing credible data sets.

Mr Mahar said he understood the change would be implemented through primary legislation and acknowledged the leadership of Minister Littleproud and his colleagues in getting it to this point.

“Farmers should expect the legislation be supported unfettered to pass Parliament.”

 

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