The national headoffice of the Aboriginal Carbon Fund (ACF) is located in Alice Springs but benefits from the initiative to The Centre are some way off. The main method for making money through carbon farming is savannah burning but at the moment there is no corresponding scheme for rangelands. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PLEASE NOTE changes to this post made at 11am on Wednesday, July 16.
The Federal Labor Government has wasted $9m of taxpayers’ money by giving it to a private company to buy Henbury Station which has now gone into receivership, Nigel Scullion (pictured), Country Liberals Senator for the Northern Territory.
Indigenous economic development was front and centre in Alice Springs this week. A large group from local business and public service were at the launch this morning (photo above) when Territory Minister Alison Anderson put out for public comment her draft strategy for 2013 to 2020: a "simplified framework to complement Territory and Commonwealth programs" with "entrepreneurship, self-reliance and resilience" as the objectives. The town also hosted this year's National Native Title Conference at which ways were examined of how Aborigines can not only get a slice of the resource action, but put in their own contribution as well. Rangers looking after the treasures of nature, and earnings from carbon farming were high on the agenda. Jon Altman (at right) was one of the speakers. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. The heading on the slide says: Illegal Indigenous dispossession, 1788 to 1965, and legal repossession, 1993 & 2013.
A perennial water hole on the Finke River with Alice Spencer, Program Administrator: Community, Climate and Biodiversity for R.M.Williams Agricultural Holdings. Photo by Martin Vivian Pearse, R.M.Williams Agricultural Holdings.
There's more to carbon farming than locking up land and watching the grass grow. To earn money from carbon credits in this brave new world there needs to be "additionality", in other words, the project needs to have come about as a result of the carbon markets, not as a result of land management improvements for other reasons.
There also needs to be "permanence": the farm needs to keep doing its sequestration job (pulling carbon out of the atmosphere and storing it) in perpetuity.
This is where there is potential for local jobs now and into the future, drawing on a similar skill set to the pastoral industry. So explained Rebecca Pearse, manager for R. M. Williams Agricultural Holdings' carbon project on Henbury Station, when she spoke to the recent ABARES Regional Outlook* conference in Alice Springs.
Ms Pearse and her husband David will be living at Henbury, 130 kms south-west of Alice, when the carbon farm "goes live" next month – quite a change from the esoteric world of the "weather derivatives market" in Europe, which is what they were involved in previously.
KIERAN FINNANE reports.
Pictured: Rebecca and David Pearse who will soon call Henbury Station home. Photo by Martin Vivian Pearse, R.M.Williams Agricultural Holdings.
Perhaps because this can be a hot place anyway, there was little heat in the Alice Springs conversation with the Climate Commission; and perhaps because it's an expensive place to live anyway, there was no whinging about the "great big tax". The science was clearly accepted; people's interest was in 'where to from here'. People wanted to know about the impact of the Clean Energy Act on the poorest people in our region; about the advantages for sustainability of high density living; about population control; about carbon farming, carbon storage, and large-scale solar power stations. They had some of the nation's best climate change brains answering, although when it got down to local specifics, such as the development of the Kilgariff subdivision and fire regimes in the desert, the information got a little thin. Pictured: Professors Tim Flannery and Lesley Hughes at the 'Climate Conversation' in Alice Springs on Wednesday. KIERAN FINNANE reports.