Rural communities, and the businesses that support them, are at the front line of climate change impacts. With a changing climate and uncertainty about future government responses to the challenge, rural communities are vulnerable to both the physical and regulatory consequences of climate change.
The Alliance acknowledges that Australia is tracking close to its Kyoto target due largely to the efforts of Australian farmers reducing emissions, particularly from practices such as minimum tillage and ceasing broad-scale land-clearing, while emissions from most other sectors have continued to increase.
The Alliance believes that rural Australia can continue to help turn around Australia’s rising greenhouse gas emissions and make the switch to a clean energy economy. While commitments to introduce a price of greenhouse gas emissions are welcome, complementary measures will be necessary to help rural Australia play its part.
We need to build on rural Australia’s history of innovation and resilience by ensuring a mix of policies and programs to:
1. Prosper: Create effective and sustainable economic drivers from harvesting clean renewable energy, farming carbon and bio-diversity stewardship, such as setting a target for clean renewable energy.
2. Strengthen: Secure a viable, vital and productive future for rural Australia by forward planning and providing for social and physical infrastructure and services such as mental health facilities and workforce skills.
3. Adapt: Make information, tools and resources accessible to rural Australians with a view to adapting to and preparing for the unavoidable impacts of climate change. Recognise that farmers have an ageing profile and many operate small or medium scale enterprises.
Working together and supported by government, rural Australia can prosper from a clean energy future.