The Australian Government has repealed the Carbon Tax with effect from 1 July 2014. The Carbon Tax repeal legislation received the Royal Assent on 17 July 2014 and the bills, as part of this package, are now law.
In anticipation of the repeal, the government reviewed funding arrangements related to the Carbon Tax in 2013, and is not proceeding with any new projects under the Carbon Farming Futures program.
Through its Direct Action Plan, the government will introduce a mix of new policies, including the Emissions Reduction Fund. The Emissions Reduction Fund will build on the existing Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) and provide ongoing opportunities for farmers and land managers to participate in emission reduction projects.
Extension and Outreach projects already funded under the Carbon Farming Futures program will continue to support the communication of opportunities under the CFI, and the transition to the Emissions Reduction Fund.
Through the Extension and Outreach component of the Carbon Farming Futures program the Australian Government has invested funding from 2011–12 to 2016–17 to assist farmers and land managers to participate in land sector emissions reduction activities and the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI).
The CFI is a voluntary carbon offset scheme. This Australian Government initiative allows farmers and land managers to earn carbon credits by reducing greenhouse gas emissions (such as nitrous oxide and methane) and storing carbon in vegetation and soils through changes to agricultural and land management practices (also known as carbon farming). Additionally, the CFI will increase the land sector’s resilience to a changing climate, protect Australia’s natural environment and enhance long-term farm productivity.
Extension and Outreach grants funding
In April 2013, 24 projects valued at $21.3 million were funded under the Extension and Outreach program to deliver information that is clear, consistent and current to farmers, land managers and their key influencers using a mix of traditional and new extension services.
Extension and outreach activities supported by the program are assisting farmers, land managers and key influencers across Australia to reduce land sector greenhouse gas emissions, sequester carbon in the landscape and participate in the CFI by:
- providing technical information and support about integrating carbon management into whole farm planning and farm performance
- sharing new research and farm techniques for the property and farm business, including those generated through the Carbon Farming Futures programs
- increasing communication resources and channels available
- creating tools and information systems to improve knowledge of land sector emissions
- enhancing productivity and environmental sustainability.
This funding is supporting sector–specific projects, including the livestock, dairy, horticulture, cotton and grains industries, as well as projects targeting specific audiences, including fertiliser users and young farmers. A list of successful projects is available.
Training extension providers
The extension officers supported by the Extension and Outreach program will be the on-ground touch‑points for farmers and land managers to obtain information on emissions management, how to integrate this with business and land management practices, and how to participate in the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI).
A number of initial competencies are expected in the extension officers. These include:
- university qualification in agricultural science or equivalent
- at least two years in industry extension, including the delivery of information to farmers and land managers
- capacity to interpret scientific information and deduce its relevance for farmers and land managers
- knowledge of climate change issues.
The department is providing training to enable them to effectively undertake their roles. At a minimum the training will cover:
- technical information on land sector emissions and their management
- information on all aspects of the CFI and how to participate
- roles and responsibilities of extension officers, grantees and the department under the program.
Extension officers engaged in the program must fully participate in the training provided by the department. This will involve initial training, which will be supplemented over time by ongoing knowledge refreshment.
Initial training involves:
- self learning from the following education resources
- a Carbon Farming Resources Pack containing the technical and procedural information
- a Carbon Farming Extension Tool Kit containing a set of appropriate extension materials and tools for extension officers to use with their clients
- completing a comprehensive CFI eLearning course attending the initial two day face-to-face training.
The face-to-face training will assume participants familiarity with the resource material and that they have completed the CFI eLearning. It is designed to deliver additional information and focus on interactive learning with question and answer sessions.
The first face-to-face training was held in Melbourne on 10‒11 September 2013. The second face-to-face training will be held in Adelaide during March 2014.
Extension officers will be required to participate in ongoing knowledge refreshment. This will include:
- self learning from the six monthly updates of the Carbon Farming Resources Pack, Carbon Farming Extension Tool Kit and CFI eLearning
- attend the twice a yearly face-to-face updates
- participate in the twice yearly interactive update webinars from relevant topic experts.
Note on expenses: It is expected that all projects have budgeted for the time taken for extension officers to participate in training. The costs of the training including any hard copies of the training materials, travel and accommodation will be borne by the department. The face-to-face training will be held at various locations across Australia.
Web-based information session
At the opening of the program in November 2012, web–based information session (webinar) was held for prospective applicants. A recording of the webinar and the presentation are available.
Applications for the Extension and Outreach program have closed.
For reference, the guidelines outlining the eligibility requirements for the first and second assessment phases of the Extension and Outreach grants funding are available.
Successful applicants were required to enter into a funding deed with the Commonwealth through the Department of Agriculture:
Expert Advisory Panel
An Expert Advisory Panel was established to assess applications for grant funding against the assessment criteria and advise the department on the most effective funding investments.
The panel comprised of leading extension experts, industry representatives and government officials with expertise in a range of agricultural industries and in delivering government and/or industry programs.
View the biographies of the panel members.
- New opportunities for carbon farming – 1 May 2013
- Spreading the carbon farming facts – 10 April 2013
For more information about the Extension and Outreach program, please call 1800 283 940 or email the Extension and Outreach program.
The Extension and Outreach program is administered by the Australian Government Department of Agriculture. To find out more about the other programs administered by the department under the Carbon Farming Futures, please follow the links below: