SYLH Report to Members - Year Ending 30th June 2006


12 months to 30th April 2006

  1. The SaveYourLeatherwoodHoneyAssociation was formed at a meeting held on the 11th April 2005. Nine persons were present and all agreed to be members of the Association and pay the $10 subscription.
  2. Incorporation as an Association not for profit occurred on the 29th April 2005.
  3. The first Annual General Meeting took place on the 20th June 2005. The officers elected in accordance with the constitution were:
    • R E Davey - President
    • H Hoskinson - Vice President
    • E Cave - Secretary
    • P Norris- Treasurer
    • D Mulder - Ordinary Committee Member
    • S Pigot - Ordinary Committee Member
    • R Heese - Ordinary Committee Member
    • L Cowan - Ordinary Committee Member
    • J Direen - Co-opted Committee Member
    • J Hoskinson - Ordinary Committee Member
    • J Duncombe - Ordinary Committee Member
  4. P. Norris resigned as Treasurer in June 2005 and Ian Wheeler was appointed in his place.
  5. Monthly meetings of the committee then followed. Sometimes these were more frequent, and dealt with:
    • membership
    • finance
    • publicity
    • cooperation with other forest users
    • resource access and coupe identification
    • resource protection.
  6. The creation of the Association website was finished in November 2005. This was partly funded by Jill Saunders, Managing Director of Beauty and the Bees with the balance coming from the Leatherwood Fighting Fund held by the Tasmanian Beekeepers Association. This was by far the most expensive part of the Association set-up. Our thanks go to Jill and the Association.
  7. Peter Jerrim, our computer adviser, was an enormous help and encouragement, as well as being economical and patient.
  8. Your President and Vice President were interviewed for the award winning film on Tasmania's forests shown at the Northern Territory Film Festival.
  9. We have received two payments from the Tasmanian Beekeepers Association totalling $2700, for set-up and publicity costs. Our gratitude has been expressed in writing.
  10. We shared a stand at the Hobart Show with the Timber Workers for Forests, in October 2005. We have, at their invitation, attended two of their meetings and we now have cross membership among some of our members.
  11. We shared a stand with the Tasmanian Beekeepers Association at the Honey Expo in Launceston in May 2006.
  12. We have written to all primary producers, especially orchardists in the South of Tasmania who receive pollination services, informing them of the activities of the Association, our campaign to save the leatherwood resource and inviting them to join the Association. We currently have 7 members who are horticulturalists, that is, other than beekeepers.
  13. There have been at least 7 articles/interviews published in local and nationwide newspapers, since November 2005. These have highlighted the problems resulting from the diminishing leatherwood resource in the South of Tasmania.
  14. The major announcement on the issue was by the Forests and Forest Industries Council Chairman Mr Rob Woolley in the Mercury Newspaper on the 30th January 2006, that 'the Forests Council had negotiated with Forestry Tasmania to ensure coupes rich in leatherwood would be deferred from current clearfelling plans'. It is unfortunate that Forestry Tasmania is not giving recognition to the content of that statement.
  15. There have been 8 radio and 3 television interviews by Association officers in the last 6 months, concerning the leatherwood resource issue.
  16. We are in regular contact by letter and email with Forestry Tasmania and the Minister for resources, Mr Bryan Green. We also have regular contact with The Forests and Forest Industries Council.
  17. The Government's Corporations Watchdog Committee in the Legislative Council, (Chaired by Jim Wilkinson MLC), has been informed of the leatherwood issue. The Committee is to raise the issue again, and has been primed to ask the relevant questions.
  18. In March 2006,a request for a moratorium on clearfelling leatherwood rich coupes in the Wedge, was put to the Minister and the Forests and Forest Industries Council.
  19. A successful but wet leatherwood picnic was held at the Arve River Picnic Ground on the 29th January. This was a significant publicity success.
  20. In the period leading up to the State election every candidate was emailed about the leatherwood issue and asked for their response and support.
  21. The first positive result on the leatherwood issue occurred in April and May 2006, when it was announced by the Forests and Forest Industries Council that 2 coupes in the Huon District and 16 coupes in the Derwent District were to be deferred from the current harvesting plan. The coupes in the Derwent were most of those requested in the Moratorium submission for coupes in the Wedge.
  22. The announced deferments are (at last), a recognition that the leatherwood resource issue is important and not just a figment of the beekeepers' imagination. We recognise the effort of The Minister and the Forests and Forest Industries Council in this process, and have expressed our appreciation for that in writing.
  23. Our case for deferment of the remaining 8 coupes in the Wedge (Derwent District), is being pressed with the Minister, Forestry Tasmania and the Forests and Forest Industries Industry Council. To date Forestry Tasmania have advised that these coupes cannot be deferred at the present time, (for reasons unknown to us). This is now being actively followed up and will be the subject of a media release if no progress is made in the near future.
  24. In February 2006 Forestry Tasmania carried out an aerial survey of the Southern Forests to establish the extent of the areas of leatherwood resource not currently accessed. This was done in the company of two beekeeper representatives. The results of the flyovers are not yet available despite regular reminders to Forestry Tasmania. However the beekeepers saw little leatherwood which would be commercially useful to beekeepers, most of that seen being at too high an altitude. This involves complex issues relating to timing of the nectar flow, (too late in the season), and daytime temperatures, (too low for foraging bees to access for commercial quantities) and not being adjacent to lower stands of leatherwood, (where a natural progression from low to high altitude could take place).
  25. The current 3 Year Forestry Harvesting Plan which was the basis for our Moratorium request, has now been superceded by a provisional 1 year plan. This has now been examined and a summary of the preliminary findings are attached to this report. Of major concern is the inclusion of the previously deferred 16 coupes in the Wedge (Derwent), as contingency coupes.
  26. One coupe in the Arve Valley which has been assessed by the beekeepers as very rich in leatherwood and very low in timber content, is being prepared for cable harvesting. In response to submissions made by the Southern Branch of the Tasmanian Beekeepers Association, (with the help of this Association), Forestry Tasmania have supplied us with a copy of the coupe harvesting plan which shows some retention of leatherwood by the setting of coupe boundaries, but with much of the leatherwood still at risk. We are using this coupe as an example of how the promised regime of leatherwood resource retention either works or is to be ignored. You will hear much more of this issue in the media, if the leatherwood on that coupe is substantially destroyed.
  27. All in all our first year has been one of gaining membership, publicising the resource issue, acquiring a network of media contacts, obtaining recognition at Government and Forestry Tasmania level that a problem exists and generally acting as a strong lobby group for the beekeeping industry on the leatherwood resource issue.
  28. Our main tactic to date has been to identify those leatherwood rich coupes at risk and submit a case for their deferral. This has been followed by a publicity campaign when deferment is denied or the request ignored.
  29. After tonight it is intended to adopt a more forward planning strategy, with (it is hoped), the help of an experienced publicity person. At the present time we are simply playing "catch up", that is being reactive instead of proactive. Our focus must, in my view, be to convince the Tasmanian Fruit Growers Asociation that they should actively lobby the Government, or join us in our campaign, or both. After all, it is that industry that stands to lose the most and Tasmania with it, if the pollination industry collapses. With that industry's support our campaign will gain much momentum. Only with that cooperative approach will the Forests and Forest Industries Council and Forestry Tasmania seriously consider allowing our involvement at the forest harvest planning stage.
  30. While we are fighting to save the resource in the South, the Tasmanian Beekeepers Association is negotiating with the Forests and Forest Industries Council and Forestry Tasmania to be allowed input into the Tasmania wide forest harvesting plan process. That is the long term solution to the problem. In the meantime the resource must be preserved, so that there is a resource available to plan for. That is our focus.
  31. Thank you all for your support over the last 12 months.

Bob Davey (President)