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Climate change report a “wake-up call” for Goulburn Valley, says Pettigrew

By Rodney Woods

The federal emissions reduction minister has defended Australia's land management practices after a new United Nations climate change report called for changes in the way the world produces and consumes food.

The report by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change examined the relationship between land use and climate change and concluded global food practices needed to be more sustainable.

It recommended increased sustainable land management practices to prevent land degradation and soil erosion, and also argued for plant-based diets over meat-heavy ones.

Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor said Australia was already absorbing emissions from land management.

"This is a very, very important success story in Australia," he said.

"Farmers, in particular, haven't been given the credit they deserve for the role, the enormous role, they've played on this front," he said.

But the minister brushed off concerns about the role meat-heavy diets played in climate change, suggesting the report was "forcing" people to become vegan.

"We're not going to tell people what they should be eating, that's just not the role of government," he said.

Shepparton-based Slap Tomorrow's John Pettigrew, who was complimentary about the efforts of most Goulburn Valley farmers, said last week’s report was in fact a “wake-up call” for the entire region as the Goulburn Valley economy relied heavily on food supply.

"Improving land management would have multiple economic, environmental and health benefits that not only delivers win-wins for farmers, communities, governments and biodiversity but also helps address climate change," he said.

"It was behaviour embedded with hard work, dedication and innovation that built the Goulburn Valley of today and it is going to take an effort of similar intensity, with a different goal, to avoid the degradation that will come if climate change is not acknowledged and addressed.