Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot

Applications for the Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot open 12 April and close 11 June 2021.

To apply you must read the pilot documentation available here and at Grantconnect.

Applications can be submitted through agsteward.com.au

About the program

The Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot is trialling arrangements to reward farmers for improving on-farm biodiversity together with carbon projects under the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF). 

The Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot is part of the wider $34 million commitment of the Australian Government to biodiversity stewardship on farms. The Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot is being developed with the Australian National University (ANU).

Applications open in April 2021.

Under the pilot, farmers who plant native trees – in line with a biodiversity protocol developed by the ANU – will receive payments for biodiversity outcomes. These payments will be in addition to earnings a landholder might receive for their carbon abatement.

Eligible activities will build on ERF carbon projects.

Examples could include:

  • Planting, managing and looking after vegetation
  • Regenerating gullies, waterways and degraded hillsides

These plantings can also benefit farmers by providing shelter for livestock, improving soil moisture and reducing erosion. 

Enquiries about the program can be directed to agstewardship@awe.gov.au. You can also call us on 1800 329 055.

If you want to be notified of future developments, let us know via email to agstewardship@awe.gov.au.

Eligible regions

The Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot will be run in six Natural Resource Management regions. Eligible regions are:

  • Burnett-Mary in QLD
  • Central West in NSW
  • North Central in Vic
  • NRM North in Tasmania
  • Eyre Peninsula in SA
  • South West in WA

The Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot has 5 core elements:

  1. Plantings established under the Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot must be protected and maintained for a minimum of 25 years in accordance with ERF requirements. Participants will be required to undertake new ERF environmental plantings projects involving reforestation through either planting or direct seeding of native tree and shrub species. Participants will also need to ensure they satisfy relevant ERF participant obligations, including in relation to measurement, reporting and auditing.
  2. Projects participating in the Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot will also need to comply with the Carbon + Biodiversity planting protocol and reporting requirements. The planting protocol sets out rules about the location, dimensions, configuration and composition of plantings to ensure projects generate biodiversity benefits.
  3. Projects contracted under the Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot will receive biodiversity payments over the course of the project. Payments will be contingent on the satisfaction of relevant C+B Pilot requirements, including the planting protocol.
  4. Projects that meet ERF requirements, as determined by the Clean Energy Regulator, will be able to receive Australian carbon credit units (ACCU) for the carbon sequestered in the planting project. Participants can sell, keep or cancel any ACCUs they receive for the projects.
  5. Plantings established under the Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot will need to be protected and maintained for at least 25 years. Once registered under the ERF, the projects will be subject to the ERF permanence requirements.

How to apply

Before applying, you must read and understand the pilot document and the relevant planting protocols and price guide for your region. These documents can be found below and on the GrantConnect website. Any alterations to these documents will be published on GrantConnect and by registering on this website, you will be automatically notified on any changes. GrantConnect is the authoritative source for grants information.

To apply

  1. Read pilot documentation, and the planting protocol and price guide for your eligible NRM region.
  2. Plan your project and consider how it fits into your existing agricultural business, seeking expert advice ( e.g. agronomists, financial advisers, service providers and others) were needed.
  3. Complete your application and submit through the web portal accessed at agsteward.com.au.

Pilot documentation and factsheets

Download

​Document Pages File size
​Agriculture Biodiversity Stewardship Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot PDF  39 859 KB
Agriculture Biodiversity Stewardship Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot DOCX 39 1.0 MB
​Agriculture Biodiversity Stewardship - Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot (factsheet) PDF  2 667 KB
Agriculture Biodiversity Stewardship - Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot (factsheet) DOCX  2 991 KB

If you have difficulty accessing these files, please visit web accessibility.

Planting Protocols and Price Guides for eligible NRM regions

Burnett-Mary in QLD

​Document Pages File size
Price Guide - Burnett-Mary NRM region PDF  10 1.6 MB
Price Guide - Burnett-Mary NRM region DOCX 10 859 KB
Planting Protocol- Burnett-Mary NRM region PDF 26 655 KB
Planting Protocol- Burnett-Mary NRM region DOCX 26 1.6 MB

If you have difficulty accessing these files, please visit web accessibility.

Central West in NSW

​Document Pages File size
Price Guide - Central West in NSW PDF  10 1.6 MB
Price Guide - Central West in NSW DOCX 10 859 KB
Planting Protocol - Central West in NSW PDF 28 1.2 MB
Planting Protocol - Central West in NSW DOCX 28 2.2 MB

If you have difficulty accessing these files, please visit web accessibility.

North Central in VIC

​Document Pages File size
Price Guide - North Central Victoria PDF  10 1.6 MB
Price Guide - North Central Victoria DOCX 10 860 KB
Planting Protocol - North Central Victoria PDF 25 648 KB
Planting Protocol - North Central Victoria DOCX 25 1.3 MB

If you have difficulty accessing these files, please visit web accessibility.

NRM Northern Tasmania

​Document Pages File size
Price Guide - NRM Northern Tasmania PDF  10 1.6 MB
Price Guide - NRM Northern Tasmania DOCX 10 860 KB
Planting Protocol - NRM Northern Tasmania PDF 26 730 KB
Planting Protocol - NRM Northern Tasmania DOCX 26 1.7 MB

If you have difficulty accessing these files, please visit web accessibility.

Eyre Peninsula in SA

​Document Pages File size
Price Guide - Eyre Peninsula in SA PDF  9 1.6 MB
Price Guide - Eyre Peninsula in SA DOCX 9 860 KB
Planting Protocol - Eyre Peninsula in SA PDF 26 1.1 MB
Planting Protocol - Eyre Peninsula in SA DOCX 26 4.6 MB

If you have difficulty accessing these files, please visit web accessibility.

South West in WA

​Document Pages File size
Price Guide - South West in WA PDF  10 1.6 MB
Price Guide - South West in WA DOCX 10 859 KB
Planting Protocol - South West in WA PDF 24 905 KB
Planting Protocol - South West in WA DOCX 24 4.3 MB

If you have difficulty accessing these files, please visit web accessibility.

Questions and Answers

[expand all]

Where do I find information about the Pilot?

A: Please visit our webpage for information on the pilot including factsheets, hypothetical scenarios and program documentation. Look for the Carbon + Biodiversity tab on the left side of the web page.

Am I eligible to apply for the Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot?

A: To be eligible, you must satisfy these requirements:

  1. Your property must be in one of the eligible pilot regions (see below)
  2. Your property must be predominantly used for agricultural purposes.
  3. You must be willing and able to undertake a new ERF environmental plantings project.
  4. You must be an individual or body corporate who owns the land on which the project will be undertaken, in the sense of holding the freehold title.
  5. You must meet the participant obligations under the ERF as outlined on the CER’s website.
  6. You must not have begun the project.
  7. You must provide a commitment to act with the utmost good faith in your engagements with the program.

Please visit our website and program documentation for further information about who is eligible and how to apply.

Where is the pilot being run?

A: The pilot is being run in 6 Natural Resource Management regions:

  • Burnett-Mary in QLD 
  • Central West in NSW 
  • North Central in VIC 
  • NRM North in Tasmania 
  • Eyre Peninsula in SA 
  • South West in WA 

Why is my region not eligible to participate in the Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot?

A: Six NRM regions were selected to test the pilot across a range of jurisdictions, farming systems and vegetation types. Other NRM regions may be included in the future but have not been determined at this point in time.

How long will applications be open for?

A:  Applications will be open until midnight 11 June 2021.

What information do I need for my application?

A:  As part of the application process, you will be asked to provide project details such as the address of the property, plot where the plantings will be established, and cost estimates for the project (fencing, supply of trees and other associated costs). Applications can be lodged through the Agriculture Stewardship portal

How do I apply to the Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot?

A: Once open, applications will be lodged through the Agriculture Stewardship portal

How much money can I receive if I am successful under the Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot?

A:  The funding you may receive as a successful applicant will depend on the details of your project. Please read the pilot documentation to understand how biodiversity payment offers will be made. We recommend that applicants seek professional advice when considering an application.

Do I have to participate in the Emissions Reduction Fund to be eligible for the Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot?

A: An eligibility requirement for participating Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot is to register your project as a new Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) environmental plantings project, involving reforestation through either planting or direct seeding of native tree and shrub species. The project must satisfy the eligible offset project registration requirements under the ERF and must not already be registered. You will be able to do this after (and if) we make you a price offer.

What is the difference between this program and the Smart Farms program?

A: The Smart farms program (2017-18 to 2022-23) is a separate Australian Government initiative that is complementary to the aims of the Agriculture Stewardship Package. Part of the second phase of the National Landcare Program, the program supports the development and uptake of best practice, tools and technologies for:

  • Farmers and land managers
  • Fishers
  • Foresters
  • Regional communities

Who can help me if I am having trouble with the application process?

A: You can call 1800 329 055 or email agstewardship@awe.gov.au for queries about the application process. You can also call your local Natural Resource Management organisation for more details:

What are the size requirements for my project under the Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot?

A: Eligible Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot Projects must have an aggregate planting area of between 5 and 200 hectares.

What advice do I need before applying?

A: We strongly recommend that applicants seek independent professional advice about participation in this pilot, potentially including financial, legal, agronomy and carbon project specialists. You should decide what advice to seek as appropriate for your circumstances.

What happens to carbon credits I earn?

Any Australian carbon credit units (ACCUs) you earn under the scheme are administered by the Clean Energy Regulator (CEF) under the Emissions Reduction Fund. ACCUs can be sold at auctions administered by the CEF or through private markets and are in addition to the biodiversity payment. More information about this process can be found on the Landscape South Australia Eyre Peninsula website.

How are payments calculated?

The pilot will trial a dual-track approach to determining the biodiversity payments made to successful applicants. Under the dual-track approach, 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.

For applicants who choose Option A, the price offer will be calculated using a financial model that accounts for the likely revenues from the sale of carbon credits and the project costs (for example establishment costs, recurrent management costs, and reporting and auditing costs).  Option B is similar to Option A, but it gives applicants the opportunity to put in a lower bid price to increase their chances of receiving an offer. This is because it is a competitive process and we are seeking to maximise the biodiversity we gain for our payments.

What are the key dates and timeframes?

Activity Timeframe
Release of program documentation for potential applicants to consider 5 March 2021
Planting protocols and pricing guide published online April 2021
Applications open April 2021
Applications close 11 June 2021
Assessment of applications and make biodiversity payment offers to applicants 14 June – 14 July 2021
Applicant consideration of offer and contract is signed by both parties Mid-July – mid-August 2021
Within 4 weeks from date of offer
ERF project registration and exercise option to initiate project Mid-July – mid-December 2021
Within 4 months of contract being signed
Undertake plantings Mid-October 2021 – mid-September 2022
Within 9 months of ERF project registration
End date of activity or agreement Accepted offers: 25 years after the date on which the project is registered under the ERF
Relinquished offers: 6 months after the date of execution of the agreement

* Dates ranges are indicative and are reflective of earliest and latest possible dates. Timeframes will vary between participants.

Can you provide a case study of a Carbon + Biodiversity pilot project?

Last reviewed: 12 April 2021
Thanks for your feedback.
Thanks! Your feedback has been submitted.

We aren't able to respond to your individual comments or questions.
To contact us directly phone us or submit an online inquiry

Please verify that you are not a robot.

Skip