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Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
2 March 2006
Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, today praised the leadership and practical action taken by Australian rice growers, which has brought them to the forefront of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the agriculture sector.
Releasing a new report, Australian Rice Growers: Meeting the Greenhouse Challenge, Senator Campbell said the efforts and commitment of Australian rice growers under the Australian Government’s Greenhouse Challenge Plus programme were making a real difference.
“Greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture make up about 18 per cent of Australia’s total emissions and also represent the loss of valuable resources from farming systems,” Senator Campbell said.
“This means there are real opportunities for farmers to both help the environment and enhance farm productivity and sustainability by taking steps to minimise these emissions.
“Reducing emissions and improving overall efficiency of the farming system as a core part of overall farm management is one of the most effective ways for agricultural industries to respond to climate change.”
Senator Campbell said since joining the Greenhouse Challenge Plus programme in 2000, the Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia has built greenhouse issues into its comprehensive, industry-wide environmental management system, Environmental Champions.
Environmental Champions guides growers through five levels of achievement based on their level of participation, knowledge of environmental issues, adoption of new practices, and their ability to demonstrate improved efficiencies on-farm.
This programme has already seen about 240 rice businesses identify opportunities and start to take practical actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in seven key areas – flood irrigation, nitrogen management, soil management, stubble management, greenhouse sinks, energy efficiency, and waste management.
“By taking action in these areas, Australian rice growers will not only be minimising their greenhouse gas emissions and increasing their productivity, but will also be helping to safeguard their competitive edge in world markets facing the challenges of climate change,” Senator Campbell said.
Australian Rice Growers: Meeting the Greenhouse Challenge presents case studies of rice growers who have improved the productivity of their businesses while also addressing greenhouse and other environmental issues. It includes examples of what can be done at a practical and local level.
Greenhouse Challenge Plus is part of the Australian Government’s $1.9 billion climate change strategy, which aims to build an effective global response to climate change, reduce national greenhouse gas emissions, and prepare communities and industries for the unavoidable impacts of climate change.
For more information, or to view a copy of the report, visit www.greenhouse.gov.au/agriculture
Renae Stoikos 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434