“The Minister isn’t even interested in the alternatives to lumping farmers into the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), which is proven by the Government’s lack of engagement with He Waka Eke Noa,” says ACT’s Primary Industries spokesperson Mark Cameron.

“Written Parliamentary Questions show the Minister hasn’t even bothered to request economic analysis on the proposals. The last time Damien O’Connor received any cost benefit analysis on the subject was in September 2019, a month before the partnership was even announced. He’s content to just sleepwalk along until farmers are forced to pay up.

“It has also been revealed to ACT that the Ministry for the Environment (MFE) and Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) are refusing to sign the recommendations from He Waka Eke Noa. Minutes from the most recent He Waka Eke Noa partnership meeting state that the Government will not be signatories on the recommendations report as they ‘will be required to advise Ministers on the report’.

“It is farcical that the Government is citing a conflict of interest that they have somehow only discovered more than two years after joining the partnership. The reality is that they don’t want to sign because they don’t want to be held accountable.

“He Waka Eke Noa translates to ‘we are all in this canoe together’, yet it appears the Government is jumping ship and choosing to swim for the safety of the ETS rather than work constructively with the primary sector.

“The Government clearly just wants to lump farmers into the ETS. Until more technology becomes available for farmers to reduce emissions, it equates to nothing more than a crude tax and will only increase the price of mince, milk and cheese and grow global emissions as less efficient countries fill the gap in food production.

“The ETS option has not been developed either. If farming is to be forced into the ETS, it should be with proper treatment of methane as a short lived gas and allowances for on-farm sequestration.

“The focus should be on working with the primary sector on more accurate measurement and management frameworks for methane emissions and ensuring there are no barriers to the uptake of new emissions reduction technologies.

“The website for He Waka Eke Noa states that the partnership is ‘Working together with farmers and growers on practical solutions’, it’s about time the Government lived up to this.”

Links to the written parliamentary questions can be found here and here

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Mark Cameron