A range of funding opportunities exists to enable climate adaptation and mitigation activities to occur. Many of these opportunities exists with only a small amount of further investment within existing project, to provide infrastructure with a greater resilience to extreme weather events. There are also opportunities to access external funding through commercial loans to fund infrastructure that reduce emissions. Outside of these avenues, State and Federal Government provide grant schemes, with recent focus on adaptation through such funds at the Victorian Government Adaptation and Sustainability Partnership.
The Australian Government’s main funding source for carrying out revegetation projects that seek to address carbon sequestration outcomes is through the Emissions Reduction Fund. The Government sets the elements and funding of the ERF. As well as mitigation outcomes, the ERF draws on complementary measures, such as reducing salinity and erosion, improving water quality and protecting biodiversity, to ensure that its 2020 target is met. The Government will review the operation of the ERF and progress towards achieving the 2020 target at the end of 2015.
ERF project proponents need to confirm that their projects are consistent with ‘Regional NRM Plans’. For example, to encourage this consistency, the Corangamite CMA recommends the following principles for ERF project proposals that have revegetation components;
- Protect, enhance and restore areas of high biodiversity conservation
- Improve landscape resilience through enhancing existing ecological linkages and increasing functional biolinks
- Increase the resilience of soils
- Prioritise areas of low value agricultural land and degraded landscapes
- Do not impact on existing natural values, i.e. native vegetation communities
Projects should also align to priorities within the Regional Catchment Strategy (RCS) as well as refer to other existing regional NRM plans, i.e. the Corangamite Waterway Strategy, when proposing a carbon farming project. It is important to note that key carbon farming activities can support the implementation of the RCS. These should be included in project proposals and include:
- Natural regeneration – to assist carbon stocks associated with existing native habitat
- Environmental plantings – to increase terrestrial carbon stock through revegetation, especially along waterways, and to buffer and connect high value remnant vegetation.
- Other plantings – establish forested areas on land that has not recently supported native forest cover. This may include agroforestry, other forms of farm forestry or long-rotation hardwood plantations
- Grazing system change – to increase soil carbon through implementing management actions such as flexible grazing techniques based on pasture and stock requirements
- Blue carbon – sequestration through the conservation and restoration of freshwater and estuarine ecosystems such as wetlands, saltmarsh, mangroves and seagrass.
Alignment of projects with these points will help ensure carbon farming activities contribute to the vision and goals of the RCS. These principles should be considered when applying carbon farming activities from the Australian Government’s Emission Reduction Scheme, as well as the voluntary market.
In addition, the Corangamite and Glenleg-Hopkins CMAs encourage the use of the Emissions Reduction Funds “Negative List” for all carbon farming activities within Victoria. This list ensures proposed projects do not impact on natural assets and their associated values and can be found at www.environment.gov.au/climate-change/emissions-reduction-fund/cfi/negative-list
The Australian Government has a national goal to plant 20 million trees by 2020, to re-establish green corridors and urban forests. The 20 Million Trees Programme is part of the national stream of the National Landcare Program and has four strategic objectives:
- 20 million trees – 20 million trees and associated understorey planted by 2020.
- Environmental conservation – support local environmental outcomes by improving the extent, connectivity and condition of native vegetation that supports native species
- Community engagement – work cooperatively with the community
- Carbon reduction – contribute to Australia reducing its greenhouse gas emissions.
The Australian Government has committed $50 million over four years to the 20 Million Trees Program with funding from 2014-15. The programme will involve competitive grants, delivered by individuals and organisations. More information on the 20 Million Trees Programme can be found at www.nrm.gov.au/national/20-million-trees
For more information on the Australian Government’s role in other climate change programs, please refer to www.environment.gov.au/climate-change
The Victorian Climate Change Grants are designed to assist local government to deal with the most vulnerable local sectors in adapting to climate change. Further information about these grants can be found at the following link http://delwp.vic.gov.au/environment-and-wildlife/climate-change/victorian-climate-change-grants .
Additional to this, the Victorian Government offers a grant searching tool that enables you to locate funding for a project. This can be accessed at the following link. http://www.vic.gov.au/grants.html
Catchment Management Authorities
Corangamite CMA invites expressions of interest from land managers, community groups and public land managers for waterway improvement projects on the region’s priority waterways. These projects will be funded through the Victorian Government. The funding will primarily target priority reaches in the Barwon Basin, and rivers and estuaries along the Great Ocean Road. Funding is available to help land managers with fencing of riparian areas, site preparation, and revegetation using indigenous species to protect rivers, threatened fish habitat, wetlands, native vegetation and water supply catchments. Further information on this funding can be found at http://www.ccma.vic.gov.au/What-we-do/Community-Funding-/Waterway-Frontage-Protection-Program-2015-16.aspx
Corangamite CMA is also running another round of the VVP Biodiversity Grants. The expression of interest period will open late June, followed by a site assessment period from July to October. Landholders and community groups can apply for grants of up to $20,000 over two years or $10,000 per year. Types of projects that are eligible include;
- Protection of Remnant vegetation (eg: Grasslands)
- Protection of remnant paddock trees (eg: Red Gums)
- Threatened species (eg: Brolga’s, Corangamite Water Skink)
- Community engagement events (eg: field days, newsletters, brochures)
Anyone interested in the grants must be within the Corangamite CMA region and located on the Victorian Volcanic Plain bioregion. For further information or to register your interest, please contact Robert Bone on 0431 554 939 or Robert.firstname.lastname@example.org
Local Government Authorities
Corangamite Shire offers Environment Support Grants and Facilities Grants of up to $2,000 (GST exclusive) matching funding to environmental and sustainability projects which meet the funding criteria. http://www.corangamite.vic.gov.au/index.php/funding-programs
For further information on local governement funding opportunities that address climate change, contact your local council.
There are also a range of funding opportunities outside of government. For example the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) offers funding through its Adaptation Research Grants Programme https://www.nccarf.edu.au/content/faqs-about-nccarf-research-grants