Joint media release: Consultation opens on Ag and Land Net Zero Plan

The Hon Chris Bowen MP, Minister for Climate Change and Energy

The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP, Minister for Environment and Water

Senator the Hon Murray Watt, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry 

Australians now have an opportunity to share their views on how the agriculture and land sectors can play a part in the Albanese Government’s economy-wide Net Zero 2050 Plan.

A discussion paper for the Agriculture and Land Plan – one of six sectoral decarbonisation plans under the Net Zero 2050 Plan – has been released as part of broader public consultation.

Agriculture, as a sector in the National Greenhouse Account, made up 16.8 percent of national greenhouse gas emissions in 2020–21. This share expected to increase as other parts of the economy, such as the electricity sector, take up more readily available and lower cost abatement options.

The agricultural industry has long been calling for collaborative policy and national plans to ensure a profitable, productive and sustainable future. Modelling from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) shows that recent seasonal conditions (2001 to 2020) reduced the profitability of Australian broadacre farms by an average of 23 percent, or around $29,200 per farm.

Producers and land managers are adapting but reducing emissions is a complex task and needs strong collaboration with governments.

Now they have a government willing to partner with them to develop an Agriculture and Land Plan to do that.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Murray Watt will lead the plan’s development in collaboration with the Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Chris Bowen, and the Minister for the Environment and Water, Tanya Plibersek.

The discussion paper will be the start of a longer-term, ongoing discussion with the sector on lower emissions pathways.

Minister Watt said the discussion paper is about understanding and identifying opportunities for the sector in reducing emissions while building agricultural productivity, sustainability and resilience.

“The government is seeking views and feedback from industry, experts and the community on ways that agriculture and land can contribute to the whole-of-economy emissions reduction task,’ Minister Watt said.

“Farmers and landholders are already seeing the impact of climate change on their businesses, and have been leaders in sustainability for a long time. Their expertise in this area will be valuable in putting together the Plan.”

Minister Bowen said Australian farmers are on the front line of climate change and working with the agriculture sector will help us reach Australia’s net zero goals and protect this critical industry.

“We know farmers and landholders are best placed to share their knowledge, innovation, ideas and experience to get the best outcomes,” Minister Bowen said.

“The Albanese Government wants to work in partnership with industry to get this Agriculture and Land Plan right – supporting them to adopt low-emission technologies that boost productivity and reduce costs, and maximise opportunities to increase carbon storage in the landscape."

Minister for the Environment and Water Tanya Plibersek said landholders and land managers including those in Indigenous Protected Areas, will play a key role in protecting and repairing nature and helping it be more resilient.

“Farmers are terrific stewards of our natural environment. When they act to reduce greenhouse gases, they can also have a fantastic impact on improving biodiversity – for example by better protecting remnant bush or improving planting around dams. When farmers earn money from carbon farming, they will also be able to earn money through our nature repair market.”

“We are determined to better protect nature and leave it better off for our kids and grandkids – and we know farmers play an important role in that.”

Public submissions will be made available via DAFF’s Have your Say website and will close on 13 December 2023.

The government will continue to engage on the Agriculture and Land Plan and the other sectoral decarbonisation plans, as part of the whole-of-economy net zero plan, over the coming months.

For more information on this process, visit: