Over half the money raised from the carbon price is being used to assist households.
Australia has unique native ecosystems which are highly diverse and capable of storing significant amounts of carbon. Biodiversity plays a crucial role in maintaining the productive capacity of our landscape. Restoring native vegetation and soil carbon can help combat climate change while also protecting our biodiversity.
The Government’s new ongoing Biodiversity Fund of $946 million over its first six years will support landholders to undertake projects that establish, restore, protect or manage biodiverse carbon stores.
The Biodiversity Fund will improve the resilience of Australia’s unique species to the impacts of climate change, enhance the environmental outcomes of carbon farming projects, and help landholders protect carbon and biodiversity values on their land.
Establishing new native vegetation and habitats
The Biodiversity Fund will support landholders to establish new native vegetation and restore habitats in targeted areas of the landscape.
Landholders will be supported to establish new environmental plantings that create wildlife corridors and improve landscape connectivity. Wildlife corridors help species to move across the landscape and adapt to climate change in a way that is not possible if they are restricted to small fragments of remnant vegetation.
The Biodiversity Fund will also support landholders to establish and restore vegetation along rivers and streams, and to establish new wetlands on private property. Wetlands and waterways are a critical part of our natural environment. In addition to storing carbon, they provide habitats for many species, reduce the impacts of floods, absorb pollutants and improve water quality.
Managing and enhancing existing native vegetation
The Biodiversity Fund will support landholders to maintain or enhance existing native vegetation for its carbon and biodiversity benefits. Supporting landholders to actively manage remnant native vegetation will help to ensure that the carbon and biodiversity values of existing vegetation do not diminish over time.
Funding will be provided to landholders that take new action to protect remnant vegetation on private land, including land already under conservation covenants and land subject to land clearing restrictions. Funding will also be available to support conservation and management actions associated with the cessation of logging in publicly owned native forests.
Funding will be targeted towards the management and enhancement of existing native vegetation that has high conservation value, including wildlife corridors, vegetation along rivers and streams, and vegetation within wetlands on private property.
Controlling weeds, pests and feral animals
The Biodiversity Fund will support landholders to control weeds, pests and feral animals on their properties. One of the risks of creating a more connected landscape is that feral animals and weeds will be able to move more freely through the landscape. This can threaten agricultural resources and environmental values. To help manage this risk, the Biodiversity Fund will support landholders to manage invasive species in new and existing native vegetation. Funding will be allocated to areas where weeds, pest and feral animals are having a high, negative impact on biodiversity. Funding will also be targeted towards areas which are strategically important to preventing the spread of invasive species into new areas.
The Biodiversity Fund will support projects utilising well established, proven control methods, as well as projects trialling new, innovative control methods.
Maximising conservation gains
The Biodiversity Fund will give priority to projects in particular land systems when significant conservation gains are possible. The Government’s $44 million Regional Natural Resource Management Planning for Climate Change measure will help to identify which land systems will be targeted.
Accessing the Biodiversity Fund
The Government will issue guidelines for landholders, which will outline the criteria for accessing support from the Biodiversity Fund. These guidelines will be developed after consultation with stakeholders.
The Biodiversity Fund will be managed by the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. An independent Land Sector Carbon and Biodiversity Advisory Board will be established to provide advice to Government on the implementation of the Biodiversity Fund, including setting funding priorities and reviewing the success of the program.
For further information, call 1800 008 678.