THE Australian Government’s Enhancing Remnant Vegetation pilot will see farmers, including those eligible in the Mallee electorate, being paid for biodiversity benefits for the management of existing native vegetation.

Participating Mallee farmers could be eligible for payments for management activities that improve existing native vegetation.

The Enhancing Remnant Vegetation Pilot is part of the Australian Government’s Agriculture Stewardship Package. Six regions across Australia will take part in the pilot and Mallee farmers can apply from late September to join the program.

Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia, David Littleproud said farmers have been managing biodiversity on their farms for decades and it was time they were paid for it.

“We will start trialling a new market-based approach that will also see them paid for actions to protect and enhance their remnant native vegetation,” Minister Littleproud said.

“Over time I want to roll these pilots out to more farmers, making them widely available and fuelled by private sector investment.

“I encourage farmers in the Mallee electorate to find out more and check their eligibility to take part in this ground-breaking trial by visiting www.agriculture.gov.au/agriculture stewardship.”

Member for Mallee, Anne Webster said the Enhancing Remnant Vegetation Pilot was part of the Australian Government’s Agriculture Stewardship Package.

“The government provided $22.3 million in the 2021 budget to run these additional trials alongside the Carbon plus Biodiversity Pilot,” Dr Webster said.

“The trial will prioritise funding for projects with the most biodiversity benefit per dollar.

“We don’t want to lock up land, we want this work to go hand in hand with a productive farming enterprise.

“Our farmers produce some of the best food and fibre in the world and we want to reward them for delivering positive outcomes for their communities while also improving the financial sustainability of their own farm business.”

As part of the pilot, the Australian National University (ANU) has created the processes and protocols that measure and reward farmers for undertaking the projects, delivering a system that will be respected by international markets. ANU Professor Andrew Macintosh said that management protocols could include activities such as fencing, replanting and weed and pest control.

In some projects, farmers may choose to undertake small areas of planting to provide wildlife corridors and connectivity across the landscape.

For more details or to apply for the program visit www.agriculture.gov.au agriculturestewardship

ABOVE: Member for Mallee Anne Webster with Minister David Littleproud.