Farmers want federal climate action

Farmers for Climate Action delivered an open letter to Gippsland MHR Darren Chester last week, asking for stronger federal action on climate change.

MEMBERS of Farmers for Climate Action are calling on Gippsland MHR Darren Chester to take the message to Parliament that farmers want stronger action on climate.
A spokesperson for the group said the call came after the Victorian Nationals sought to disaffiliate with the federal party over concerns Barnaby Joyce didn’t take climate change seriously.
Members of Farmers for Climate Action went to Mr Chester’s Sale office last Tuesday to deliver an open letter signed by more than 30 farmers from within the Gippsland electorate.
The letter details how over the next 30 years, an estimated $1 trillion will be spent updating the electricity system, which is expected to open up massive economic opportunities for regional areas.
“With support, farmers and their communities can also benefit from biodiversity stewardship, sequestering carbon in trees and soil, hosting renewables, and more,” it reads.
It also asked Mr Chester to show support for the phasing out of coal-fired power plants in Australia, a strong net-zero target and for farmers who reduce their on-farm emissions.
Mr Chester, who was not in the office at the time, has agreed to meet with the farmers to discuss their concerns.
“Unfortunately I was away from my office when the petition was delivered, but I’m always happy to listen to concerns of local residents and meet with them in person, when my schedule allows,” he said.
Bengworden wool and sheep meat producer Jenny Robertson says rural Australians wanted stronger climate action and for Mr Chester to speak up for the electorate.
“Farmers can be part of the solution to climate change through good management on farms, but we need clear policy to enable that,” Ms Robertson said.
“It would add to the resilience of the farming system and would be a win for the environment and productivity.
“Dry periods are already more frequent and make managing farms very difficult. Extended droughts impact everything on the farm — ability to run livestock, maintain the property, finances and mental health.”
Ms Robertson said she would also like to see more farmer-driven science and research involved with climate action in agriculture.
Mr Chester has been one of the National Party’s strongest advocates for action on climate change.
In a recent opinion piece for a daily newspaper, he wrote that the Nationals don’t “stay relevant by cutting ourselves out of the big issues” referring to climate change, energy security, emissions reductions and the environment.
He said the Nationals needed to “stay involved with the climate and emission reduction debate, and negotiate a positive outcome for the future of our regions”.
A letter was also given to Nationals Mallee MP Anne Webster last week, signed by more than 40 farmers in her electorate.