Australian news, and some related international items

Carbon Farming Initiative – a new enterprise for Aboriginal group

Capturing carbon, unlocking wealth for Aborigines BY: MARK SCHLIEBS AND PATRICIA KARVELAS  The Australian July 13, 2012 JOHN Kite is at the helm of a newly acquired, neglected cattle station in South Australia’s outback that could soon become one of the first indigenous-owned carbon farming projects in the country.

The 56-year-old from Watarru in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands in the state’s northwest has been put in charge of turning the 4900 square kilometres of scrub and rock into a money spinner for Aborigines under the Carbon Farming Initiative, which came into effect this month.

Pitjantjatjara Council secured the pastoral lease for Mabel Creek
station, 60km northwest of the opal mining town of Coober Pedy, last
month at well below market value from a desperate seller.

Mr Kite said he aimed to get across all the aspects of carbon farming
as soon as possible.

“We’ve had talks with scientists even before taking up the lease on
the place,” Mr Kite said. “I’m supposed to pick up whatever I can from
them.” As Regional Development Minister Simon Crean sees it, Mr Kite’s
operation will be one of many delivering indigenous jobs and wealth as
a direct result of the creation of a carbon price. He said yesterday
the nation’s first inhabitants would be targeted for carbon farming.

“One of the traditional forms of treating the land, repairing the
land, was the savanna burning and the management of that also reduces
greenhouse emissions,” Mr Crean told The Australian last night.

“If it can be done in an organised way and measured, indigenous people
are not only going back to their traditional skills they practised,
they can earn money. That’s our objective. What we’ve got to do is get
the measurements and the science right and we’ve got to engage them
and drive the agenda.

“This is something that can be done out on the pastoral leases, can be
done with the beef industry and can be done as part of an integrated
approach. It can also be done on their lands.” Mr Crean said that 20
years on from Mabo there was a realisation that the fundamental
connection with land could be turned to economic advantage.

At Mabel Creek, Aborigines who have a spiritual connection with the
land will be employed to make the carbon farm, which was purchased
after the council secured commercial loans against assets and property
in Alice Springs. Pitjantjatjara Council, which once ran services in
the APY Lands, will hire Adelaide-based Northwest Carbon director Tim
Moore to teach it how to sell carbon credits from the land.

Under the carbon trading scheme, each carbon credit amounts to a tonne
of carbon dioxide equivalents saved from emission. About 500 companies
must either pay a tax or buy carbon credits, via brokers or direct
from carbon farmers, to offset their emissions…..

July 13, 2012 - Posted by | aboriginal issues, South Australia |

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