Productivity growth combined with new land sector markets could lift our agrifood exports and deliver regional economic benefits.
Future agricultural prices and land sector incomes are projected to trend upwards. Australia’s most productive agricultural land is likely to continue to be used for productive agricultural use.
With productivity improvements in line with long-term trends, Australian agricultural output volumes are projected to rise by at least 50% by 2050 – even in scenarios where bioenergy and plantings for carbon sequestration increase.
New markets and policy settings that enable carbon farming, especially in currently less productive areas, would allow many rural landowners to increase and diversify their incomes.
With appropriate settings and technologies, projected increases in water demand need not increase pressure on water limited catchments.
Payments for carbon sequestration could be harnessed to reward rural land owners for restoring ecosystems, increasing native habitat by 17% and decreasing extinction risks by 10%, without large additional government outlays.
Non-agricultural water use is projected to increase by 65 to 150% by 2050, while the value of national economic output increases by more than 150%.
While water use is projected to double by 2050, this growth can be met while enhancing urban water security and avoiding increased environmental pressures through increased water recycling, desalination and integrated catchment management.
Australia has the natural and institutional resources to prosper in almost all scenarios for global energy and resource use.
Global demand for exports is projected to treble by 2050 as global per capita income also trebles. We should expect long term growth of world energy demand, but demand for specific materials and energy exports could vary. Even in scenarios with strong global action to reduce emissions, energy and other resources could remain one of the pillars of the Australian economy, as long as commercially viable technology solutions are developed in a timely fashion to manage environmental impacts.
Domestically, energy affordability can improve, especially when we enhance the efficiency and productivity of the energy system. Transport affordability might also improve, especially through the large-scale adoption of electric vehicles.