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MP Quizzes Minister Over Bees

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Member for Gympie Tony Perrett

June 20, 2019

Locking out beekeepers from National Parks in 2025 will destroy many horticultural industries, according to Member for Gympie Tony Perrett.

Mr Perrett has put a Question on Notice in State Parliament to Environment Minister Leanne Enoch questioning when the State Government’s review into the impact of honey bees on native forests will be released.

“Two years ago I called on the government to conduct an urgent review into the closure of access from the end of 2024 before it destroys our horticultural industry which is worth tens of millions of dollars,” Mr Perrett said.

“The Minister is now sitting on the report keeping it under lock and key.

“When the Nature Conservation Act 1992 was enacted beekeepers were promised that the government would find alternative sources.

“The government told the industry last year that while the review was underway beekeepers should document attempts they have made to identify alternative sites and why the sites may be unsuitable or unavailable.

“It also asked beekeepers to consider taking on the management of access tracks and other key infrastructure and work more closely with the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service on pest, fire and biosecurity management issues.

“The government’s culture of secrecy is hurting the industry.

“Beekeepers need to know what is going on because funding is drying up, confidence is plummeting and participants are gradually leaving the industry.

“This industry is about more than just a jar of boutique honey.

“The horticulture and small crops industry will struggle to survive without the beekeepers who work side by side with them ensuring that crops such as strawberries, avocadoes, watermelon and macadamias are pollinated.

“More than 65 per cent of all Australia’s food sources are reliant on bee pollination and the industry’s value to the broader Queensland economy is estimated to be worth $1 billion from pollination services and $35 million to the honey industry.

“In the macadamia industry, alone, between 20,000 and 30,000 beehives are needed for pollination and without these bees crop yields are expected to be halved.

“(Labor) are determined to lock out anyone and any activity from our national parks.

“Bees are the only pollinators which can be managed on a sustainable level and it is critical that they have access to National Parks which provide a food source which allows them to rebuild their hives and keep them healthy.

“If this policy goes ahead it could devastate local beekeeping families and workers, our horticultural industries, and have a detrimental impact on our local economy.”

* * *

Mr Perrett’s Question on Notice:

With reference to the independent review commissioned by the department on the impact of honey bees on native forests – will the Minister advise:

(a) Whether the full report will be released to the public,

(b) If so, the date when the full report will be released,

(c) When the bee keeping industry will be provided a response by the department to that report, and

(d) The total associated costs incurred by the department in undertaking this report?

The answer is due by July 15.

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