Farmers paid for biodiversity management in pilot

Federal members Ken O'Dowd, Llew O'Brien and David Littleproud are all looking forward to seeing how the Enhancing Remnant Vegetation Pilot program goes in the Burnett Mary region. Pictures: FILE

Farmers in the Burnett-Mary region are now eligible for a brand-new native vegetation program.

The Burnett-Mary region, which includes the North, South and Cherbourg council regions, will be where the Australian Government will first roll out its $22.3 million Enhancing Remnant Vegetation Pilot program.

This will be an opportunity for farmers to build drought resilience by diversifying their on-farm income.

The Burnett-Mary region is the only one in Queensland to participate in the pilot program and will be joined by five other regions across Australia included Central West (NSW), North Central (Victoria), North Tasmania, Eyre Peninsula (South Australia) and south-west (Western Australia).

Wide Bay federal member Llew O’Brien said the pilot would support farmers in protecting, managing and improving remnant native vegetation on their land.

“Farmers in Wide Bay and throughout the Burnett-Mary region know the land, they love it, and they look after it – and this pilot scheme is a way of recognising their efforts in caring for our natural environment,” Mr O’Brien said.

“Supported projects will vary from farm to farm depending on their needs – it may be as simple as fencing off parts of the property that are already home to native vegetation, or it might involve ongoing pest and weed management.”

“We’re putting a value on farm native vegetation that farmers have cared for through generations. It’s good for the environment, and farmers can make a buck out of it.”

Flynn federal member Ken O’Dowd said the pilot scheme would give farmers and primary producers the opportunity to diversify their income stream.

“Many farmers have remnant vegetation on their properties, and this pilot means they can get a cash return on looking after the land they already care for as part of their property maintenance,” Mr O’Dowd said.

“This is not about locking up land so that it can’t be used, instead it is having an integrated system that still enables production to occur on productive land while protecting biodiversity.”

Maranoa member and minister for Agriculture, David Littleproud said this pilot program would be a key component of the $66.1 million Agriculture Biodiversity Stewardship Package designed to help farmers get paid for improving biodiversity on their farms.

“Alongside the Carbon plus Biodiversity Pilot, the Enhancing Remnant Vegetation Pilot is trialling a market-based system that will see farmers being paid for their biodiversity management,” Minister Littleproud said.

“Over time, the aim is to roll these pilots out to more farmers, making them widely available and fuelled by private sector investment.“

Interested farmers can learn more or apply to take part in the Enhancing Remnant Vegetation pilot by visiting