$12m grant share opens carbon farm gate

Zach RelphCountryman
Yoweragabbie Station owner Jorgen Jensen is upbeat about carbon farming.
Camera IconYoweragabbie Station owner Jorgen Jensen is upbeat about carbon farming. Credit: Danella Bevis

WA pastoralists have secured a major stake in the latest round of the Federal Government’s $2.55 billion fund to underpin the nation’s carbon farming opportunity, accounting for more than a quarter of the funding.

Twenty pastoral leases across the State emerged as successful bidders in the Emissions Reduction Fund’s eighth auction round, announced by the Clean Energy Regulator on Monday, claiming $12.8 million in total over the next decade.

It was confirmed $45 million will be issued as part of the latest auction, with 36 carbon projects sharing the spoils Australia-wide, in an effort to meet the Federal Government’s goal to reduce emissions by at least 26 per cent by 2030 compared with levels in 2005.

Jorgen Jensen, owner of the historic Yoweragabbie Station between Mt Magnet and Yalgoo in the Mid West, was unveiled as one of the successful applicants.

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The third-generation pastoralist runs about 200 head of cattle at the 138-year-old pastoral lease, after he was forced out of sheep by ravaging wild dogs about six years ago.

He plans to implement a carbon farming project through a rotational grazing program at the station.

Mr Jensen said carbon farming offered an alternate avenue for pastoralists to diversify operations.

“The project is controlling grazing to allow the native shrubs to get past the juvenile stage,” he said. “Carbon farming is very well established on the east coast and there is no reason why it can’t be established here.”

The latest ERF commitment comes after the 15 WA pastoralists were awarded $47.5 million from the seventh auction in June.

Partnership for the Outback alliance spokeswoman Suzannah Macbeth said the investments would allow WA to increase its market share in the country’s projected multibillion-dollar carbon sector.

A joint study led by Carbon Market Institute, released earlier this year, reported Australia’s revenue generated from carbon projects could balloon up to $24 billion within the next 12 years.

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