Agriculture Stewardship
Applications closed 11 June 2021

Agriculture Stewardship
Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot

The Agriculture Stewardship Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot (C+B Pilot) is a component of the Australian Government’s Agriculture Stewardship Package. The pilot is exploring how a market mechanism can be used to buy and sell biodiversity services and thereby improve environmental outcomes and provide new financial opportunities for farmers.

Environmental planting projects undertaken in the C+B Pilot will be eligible to receive:

Carbon Credits

Participants under the C+B Pilot will be required to establish and maintain biodiverse environmental plantings consisting of a mix of native tree and shrub species.

The projects will need to be registered as eligible offsets projects under the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) using the Reforestation by Environmental or Mallee Plantings—FullCAM method.

Once registered, the projects will be eligible to receive carbon credits (‘Australian carbon credit units’, or ACCUs) if they comply with ERF requirements. ACCUs can be sold to the Australian Government and to private buyers in other markets. The ERF requires project owners to nominate whether the plantings will be protected and maintained for either 25 or 100 years. Projects will also be subject to measurement, reporting and verification requirements under the ERF and C+B Pilot.

Biodiversity payments

Plantings will need to be established and maintained in accordance with the applicable regional C+B planting protocol. The planting protocols ensure projects generate biodiversity benefits.

Contracted projects that comply with the planting protocol and other C+B Pilot requirements will receive biodiversity payments. The biodiversity payments offered to applicants will be determined using one of two processes.

Option A
: Applicants can submit cost estimates for their project and, if they are successful in the selection process, they will receive a biodiversity payment offer that considers their estimated costings.

Option B: Applicants can submit their own bid price for the biodiversity payment they are willing to accept, along with their project costs. If they are successful in the selection process, they will receive a biodiversity payment offer based on either the bid price or the estimated costs of the project.

Information on how biodiversity payment offers are determined is available here.

Project selection

Projects will be selected having regard to their ‘benefit–cost score’, which will be calculated using biodiversity benefit scores (benefit) and possible biodiversity payment offers (cost). Biodiversity benefit scores will be based on the predicted future biodiversity value of the site and its contribution to regional biodiversity conservation. While evaluating project applications, with all else being equal:

  • projects with larger planting areas will receive higher scores
  • projects located in areas that are important for threatened species and ecosystems will receive higher scores
  • projects involving local vegetation community plantings will receive higher scores (see the C+B Planting Protocols for details)
  • projects that retain and protect mature native trees will receive higher scores
  • the closer the planting area is to fresh water, the higher the score it will receive
  • projects with 100-year permanence periods will receive higher scores

Possible biodiversity payment offers will be based on either the bid price (if submitted) or the estimated costs of the project.

Eligibility

To be eligible to participate in the C+B Pilot, applicants must hold the freehold title in the land and the land must be predominantly used for agricultural purposes. In addition, C+B Pilot projects must:

  • be within a target natural resource management (NRM) region - the pilot is running in the six NRM regions shown below; 
  • be between 5-200 hectares in size; 
  • comply with ERF requirements and C+B planting protocols; and
  • not receive support for the establishment of the plantings under another government program, other than the ERF.

Please refer to the C+B Pilot guidelines to ensure all eligibility requirements can be met.

Apply to participate

There are 6 steps to submit an application:

Step 1:
Click on your NRM region below
Step 2:
Draw planting areas on the map
Step 3:
Add contact details
Step 4:
Add costing information for each planting area
Step 5:
Supply a bid price for the biodiversity payment (optional)
Step 6:
Submit your application
Choose a NRM Region to start your application (available for desktop and tablet only)
NSW

Central West

New South Wales
SA

Eyre Peninsula

South Australia
TAS

North NRM Region

Tasmania
VIC

North Central

Victoria
QLD

Burnett Mary

Queensland
WA

South West Region

Western Australia

More information

The guidelines, planting protocols and other information on the C+B Pilot is available from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.

Information on the ERF is available from the Clean Energy Regulator.

Agricultural Stewardship website and application created with support by
Department of Agriculture Water and the EnvironmentAustralian National UniversityFlintproCogent