Indigenous carbon projects and land tenure

Tuesday, 3 June 2014
Jeremy Dore

Land activities contribute around 18 per cent of Australia’s emissions and the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) is the bipartisan policy to reduce these emissions through land projects which reduce the production of greenhouse gases also sequester carbon in the land.

Now with rights in 31 per cent of Australia and growing, have Indigenous landholders been able to participate? Currently there are 7 carbon farming projects under Indigenous control or with Indigenous involvement - all savanna burning projects in the north of Australia. Further Indigenous projects are in planning, including for savanna burning and the planting of vegetation.

These projects need to navigate the tricky territory of a national carbon farming scheme as well as state carbon and Indigenous land laws. How are these projects meeting the land tenure requirements in order to gain project approval? What problems are they running into? Is Indigenous land tenure getting a fair go? Is a new way emerging about how to think about native title?

These questions will be answered in a forthcoming Indigenous Carbon Guide. This presentation will feature key points arising from the draft guide, focussing on curly land tenure issues that have emerged, especially in relation to native title. Case studies and government policy will be highlighted, as will a potential vision for native title for the future.