Putting a value on our tree-mendous natural resources

  • Forest and Wood Products Australia will receive $900,000 for a project to apply Natural Capital Accounting on forestry, cotton and fisheries enterprises.
  • Natural Capital Accounting was an internationally recognised way of calculating the value of natural assets like soil, air, water and biodiversity, information which can then be incorporated into economic models and accounting systems.
  • The project is funded under Round 3 of the Rural R&D for Profit Programme, which delivers on the government’s election commitment to increase funding for R&D projects that are practical and accessible for farmers, fishers and foresters.

Forestry, cotton and fisheries enterprises stand to reap the benefits of a $900,000 Coalition Government R&D investment that will improve competitiveness, increase access to international markets and allow better risk and cost management across the industries.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, and Member for Lyne, Dr David Gillespie MP, said the project would apply the principles of Natural Capital Accounting in each industry, funded by the Coalition Government’s Rural R&D for Profit Programme.

“This project will give Australian forestry, cotton and fisheries producers the tools they need to incorporate the value of natural assets into their business systems,” Mr Joyce said.

“Many financial institutions are increasingly considering natural capital in their credit risk calculations, and offer lower interest rates for businesses that can prove they are managing their land and other natural resources well.

“This project will not only help producers, like forestry businesses here in Wauchope, manage their natural resources well to increase productivity, it could also help them access cheaper finance, by giving them the tools they need to demonstrate best practice management of their natural assets.

“It is one more example our commitment to delivering tangible productivity and profitability growth to primary producers.”

Dr Gillespie said Natural Capital Accounting was an internationally recognised way of calculating the value of natural assets like soil, air, water and biodiversity, information which can then be incorporated into economic models and accounting systems.

“Australia’s forestry, cotton and fisheries industries are amongst the best managed and most sustainable in the world,” Dr Gillespie said.

“However, public misconceptions about these industries unfortunately mean they often have to deal with challenges to their credentials as good environmental stewards.

“This project help these industries quantify and clearly demonstrate their environmental sustainability and clean and green credentials, which in turn will build consumer confidence and give them a competitive advantage in premium markets.”

Deputy Prime Minister Joyce said the Rural R&D for Profit Programme funded Rural RDCs to partner with researchers, universities, research agencies, funding bodies, businesses, producer groups, or not-for-profit organisations on projects that will deliver real benefits on the farm.

“Through the Rural R&D for Profit Programme we have delivered on our election commitment to increase R&D funding for practical projects to give farmers new tools to help them increase returns at the farmgate and capture opportunities in global markets,” the DPM said.

“Our funding for the $180.5 million Rural R&D for Profit programme is on top of around $700 million that the government already invests in rural R&D each year.”

Fast facts

  • The Rural R&D for Profit Programme funds projects that address the government’s rural RD&E priorities: advanced technology, biosecurity, managing natural resources, as well as promoting industry and on-farm adoption of R&D.
  • The first two rounds of the Rural R&D for Profit Programme delivered grant funding of almost $79 million for 29 projects, matched by more than $109 million in cash and in-kind contributions from successful grantees and their partners.
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