Public BioHub meeting in Cobar


10-Aug-2016

Public BioHub meeting in Cobar

RDA Orana’s BioHub Project is getting closer to becoming a reality, following completion of the pre-feasibility study that indicated strong economic viability, and ongoing discussions with potential investors.

The BioHub facility proposed for Cobar will utilise invasive native scrub, cleared with the necessary approvals, to produce a range of carbon-based products that have significant market value. It will be a pilot, with potential for similar facilities to be constructed in other locations throughout the rangelands where INS is an issue.

“There is so much of this scrub in our district, but not many landholders can afford to clear it and then still have the capital to invest in improvements like fencing and watering points,” said Peter Yench, local landholder and RDA Orana committee member.  “It’s a waste, when we could be using this scrub to produce important products, and at the same time, reimbursing landholders for the cost of clearing”.

The proposal for the Cobar BioHub would see landholders paid for the vegetation that is cleared from their property, effectively allowing the clearing to be done at no cost to the landholder.  Limited capital could then be directed into property improvements needed to bring the country back to a productive state.

Mr Yench is a well-known advocate of the Australian Government’s Emissions Reduction Fund, which has seen landholders in the Bourke and Cobar LGAs receive ten-year contracts worth in excess of $500M to retain or regrow scrub as a means of storing carbon.  Many people would see this as being in conflict with his promotion of the BioHub concept, but Mr Yench doesn’t see it this way.

“These are just two different opportunities for landholders in the Cobar area to generate income that can help them get their properties into a good, productive state,” said Mr Yench.  “Not all properties are eligible for contracts under the ERF, and not all landholders want to commit to retaining this scrub for 25 or 100 years.  The BioHub gives landholders an alternative.”

RDA Orana agrees.  “We envisage that on most properties, clearing and subsequent development will take place in stages.  There is no reason why one property couldn’t have both – clearing in association with the BioHub over the areas with more productive potential, and a carbon contract over areas with poorer capacity,” said Robyn Lamont, Acting Executive Officer, RDA Orana.

Cobar Shire Council will host a public meeting on Friday 12 August at 5pm at the Cobar Bowling & Golf Club for anyone interested in learning more about the opportunities that a Cobar BioHub will provide.  Mark Glover of EcoWaste Pty Ltd will be at the meeting, and will give a presentation explaining the BioHub concept and how landholders can benefit.  RDA Orana project staff will also be attending.  Landholders will be able to register their interest and support for the proposal, so that they can be kept informed of progress and be among the first to take advantage of the opportunities created by the BioHub when it becomes operational. 

Media contact:

Robyn Lamont, Acting Executive Officer 6885 1488


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