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Budget 24 - ICIN supports new commitments that protect Indigenous rights in carbon

The Indigenous Carbon Industry Network (ICIN) is largely supportive of new budget commitments from the federal government that protect Indigenous rights in carbon and support the development of the Australian carbon industry.

As the national peak body supporting First Nations engagement in the carbon industry, ICIN welcomes the May 2024 budget announcement of $12.2 million for First Nations peoples to participate in upfront consent processes for Australian Carbon Credit Unit (ACCU) projects.

The purpose of this funding is to increase the legal expertise needed to support First Nations Peoples’ participation in consent negotiations for ACCU projects on Native Title lands, including $11.8 million to be delivered by the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA).

“This is an important funding commitment in an area which is under resourced to support Native Title processes and legal Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) requirements,” said ICIN interim CEO Shaun Ansell.

“ICIN’s research reveals Indigenous Peoples hold rights to undertake carbon projects across 58% of Australia’s landmass. Indigenous People must be respected as equal partners who bring value and capacity to carbon projects rather than just being consulted as a regulatory requirement. In our experience, the greater the level of engagement and ownership in a project by Indigenous People – the greater the outcomes for all.”

“We hope that this funding will support work towards stamping out instances of exploitation and malpractice within the carbon industry which unfortunately our members have reported experiencing,” he said.

Other budget announcements include $6.1 million to establish the Carbon Abatement Integrity Committee and independent secretariat, which includes resourcing the Committee to assess new carbon methods. A further $17.6 million has been committed for the Clean Energy Regulator (CER) to administer methods, register and administer projects, and publish data.

A commitment of $7.5 million has been made for strengthening ACCU Scheme administration. This includes for the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW) to continue implementing ACCU Review reforms, method legislative drafting, and maintaining existing and new method abatement tools which includes an amount of funding for Northern Australia Fire Information (NAFI) and Savanna Burning Abatement Tool (SavBAT).

“The announced funding is welcome, however it is disappointing that there is not yet full certainty around core funding for NAFI the incredible publicly available and free, fire information tool. NAFI underpins the important work of carbon project proponents, Indigenous ranger programs, conservation agencies, pastoralists and everyone who manages and lives in the Australian rangelands. ICIN also urges the government to continue to engage with Indigenous partners in method development and ACCU scheme reform.” he said.

 

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