COMMONWEALTH GOVERNMENT MOVES TO AVOID BEEKEEPING AND POLLINATION CRISIS

13-Jan-2014

The Commonwealth Government Sees The Risk Of A Crisis In The Honey Bee And Pollination Industries In Australia.It Has Commissioned Through Its Standing Committee Onagriculture, Fisheries And Forestry, An Inquiry Into Thefuture Development Of The Australian Honey Bee Industry.

The Discussion Paper Published By The Inquiry Committeerecognises The Importance Of A Reliable And Accessablenectar Resource To All Australian Beekeepers, Particularlythose Involved In Pollination. The Importance Of Theleatherwood Resource To Tasmanian Beekeepers And Also Tothe Industries Relying On Pollination, Is Referred Toparticularly, In The Paper.This Association, In Partnership With Southern Beekeepers,Has Just Completed A 23 Page Submission To The Inquiry Onbehalf Of All Tasmanian Beekeepers.Whilst Covering Many Aspects Of Beekeeping, Honeyproduction And Pollination, The Underlying Thrust Of Thesubmission Is The Need To Preserve Existing Leatherwoodstands In State Forest.The Research Leading Up To The Submission Reveals That Thecurrent Shortfall In Hive Numbers For The Delivery Ofoptimum Pollination Services To Fruit, Vegetable And Seedgrowers, Is Of The Order Of 20%. The Projection Of Shortfallby The Year 2010 Is 50%.This Inquiry Is The First Time Recognition Of The Loomingbeekeeping Resource Crisis Has Been Conceded Publicly Atany Government Level.While This Recognition And Possible Action Is Welcome Andlong Overdue, There Remains A Strong Resistance To Theattempts By Tasmanian Beekeepers To The Inclusion In Theforest Practices Code, Of An Enforceable Leatherwoodassessment And Protection Procedure.The Government Has Set Up An Apiary Working Group Toresolve The Leatherwood Resource Issue And Other Mattersaffecting The Beekeeping Industry.This Resistance, In The Apiary Working Group, To The Provisionof An Enforceable Regime Is, We Understand, Coming From Thechairperson Of The Group And Forestry Tasmaniarepresentatives On The Group. Forestry Tasmania Wouldprefer The Present Voluntary Process To Remain.Whilst The Voluntary Process Is A Significant Step Forwardcompared To The Situation Which Existed As Little As 2 Yearsago, There Is No Enforceable Guarantee Of Its Continuationinto The Future. Furthermore We Are Aware That Many Of Thefactors Influencing Harvesting Techniques And Whereharvesting Will Occur, Are Outside The Control Of Forestrytasmaniathe Premier Has In The Meantime Expressed Confidence In Theresult Of The Negotiations, Which Are Taking Place In Theapiary Working Group.We Call On The Premier To Use His Influence To Ensure Thatthe Vested Interests Of The Timber Industry And Thestatutory Timber Quota Limitations Placed On Forestrytasmania, Do Not Prevent The Implementation Of Anenforceable Regime Of Leatherwood Protection. Withoutthis Outcome The Beekeeping And Horticulturist Industrieswill Not Enjoy Long Term Security.In The Meantime This Association Is Monitoring Coupes Asthey Are Prepared For Harvesting, As They Are Harvestedand After Harvesting. This Is To Assess Any Leatherwoodloss And Enable Affected Beekeepers To Assess The Hivecarrying Capacity Of The Relevant Area, And Planaccordingly.Beekeepers Do Not Have Confidence That Governmentpressure Will Ensure That Forestry Tasmania Can And Willabide By The Present Voluntary Leatherwood Assessmenmtand Protection Practice. How Can The Beekeepers Have Anyconfidence In Government Support When An Earlier Promise,That Is Of Funding For Support Of The Industry In Thecommunity Forest Agreement, Is Now Seen To Be Almostmeaningless. The Government, And Forestry Tasmania, Havemade It Clear That The Funding Of $11.4M, Provided For In Theagreement And Announced With Some Flourish As To Be Usedto Support Special Species Timber And Leatherwood Access,Will Only Be Used To Construct Road Access To Specialspecies Timber, With Any Access For Beekeepers Being Alongthe Same Roads, If There Happens To Be Leatherwood In Thatdistrict.It Is Clear That There Will Be No Roads Constructedspecifically For Leatherwood Access, Even If That Wouldopen Up Valuable Leatherwood Resource Areas.This Is Another Example Of The Priority Given To Timberinterests Over Other Forest Users, Even Where Undertakingsare Made In Writing, Expressing The Clear Intent Of Theparticipants.It Is Hoped That The Result Of The Commonwealth Inquiry,Along With Australia Wide Resource Protection/Accessaction, Will Ensure That In Tasmania, The Leatherwoodresource Is Permanently Secure For Future Generations Andwill Always Be Available To Underpin A Strong Beekeepingindustry, Capable Of Delivering All The State`S Pollinationneeds.There Is Real “ Left Hand – Right Hand “ Problem Here.While The State Bodies Charged With Therestructure Of The Leatherwoodprotection Regime Argue And Vestedinterest Reigns Supreme, Thecommonwealth Government Is Spendinglarge Amount S Of Time And Moneytrying To Deal With A Loomingpollination Crisis.