The National Irrigators Council (NIC) acknowledges the Government’s ambition to reach net zero emissions by 2050 and welcomes its commitment to achieving this important goal.

NIC CEO Isaac Jeffrey said: “NIC recently announced our commitment to net zero by 2050, emphasising the need for governments, opposition, industry and communities to come together to plan and invest in the transition.

“As the growers of one-hundred percent of Australia’s rice, ninety percent of our fruit, nuts and grapes, seventy-six percent of our vegetables, around seventy percent of Australian cotton and over fifty percent of Australia’s dairy and sugarcane, irrigated agriculture is a vital sector for our nation’s food security, processing and manufacturing industries, health and trade.

“Irrigation farmers are at the forefront of our changing climate and are already experiencing more variable weather and reduced inflows – conditions which are predicted to deteriorate without action to address climate change.

“Australian irrigated agriculture is a world-leader in water management with the sector already growing more produce with less water. NIC welcomes the acknowledgment within the Government’s plan of the agriculture industry’s efforts to date in reducing emissions, including through adaptation, new technology and systems, and activities, such as carbon sequestration.

“The Government has acknowledged the sector’s contributions and the fact that we have been doing our bit. Agriculture will continue to contribute to this goal but given we have done a lot of the heavy lifting on lowering emissions, we will now be moving to explore the opportunities of this change by helping others through activities, such as carbon sequestration.

“From an industry perspective, it is important that all governments support the transition. With a goal finally set at the national level, Australian governments, oppositions, industry and local communities can now come together to work out how we will get there and the support needed to aid the transition. It will also encourage investment in new technologies to support industry growth.

“For Australian agriculture to meet or beat the $100 billion by 2030 target, it must capitalise on its competitive advantages. To do so, the sector must have access to affordable and reliable energy. It is critical that energy costs are affordable for the productive sector, ideally with a target price of eight cents for electrons and eight cents for network expenses. The power must also be dispatchable and
not intermittent.

“Investment is therefore needed in the post-2025 energy market design to prepare the grid now for further increases in renewables, including storage via hydro schemes and batteries.

“NIC would like to see increased funding for research and development, in education and other measures which support the transition, including advice to help businesses understand their emissions and plan for the future.

“The goal’s been set, now is the time for Australia to put aside its decades of politicking to come together to build a roadmap and start the transition, while supporting Australia’s great food and fibre producing industries.”

Ends. Media Contact: Isaac Jeffrey 0407 083 890