Lock-out threatens Gympie horticulture industries: MP
GYMPIE'S beekeepers should know in July when they will get to see the Government's review into the impact of honey bees on native forests.
Member for Gympie Tony Perrett has asked Environment Minister Leanne Enoch whether the Government intends to release the full report, and if so when, so that the bee keeping industry can see what is going on.
"I've also asked the minister in the Question on Notice when the industry will be provided a response by the department to the report and the cost to undertake the review,” Mr Perrett said.
"The planned lock-out of beekeepers from operating in national parks from 2025 will destroy a vital sector of Gympie's horticultural industries.
"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.
"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.
"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 % 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.
"The importance of the Gympie's bee industry cannot be underestimated with 20 commercial beekeepers among more than 200 members of Valley Bees.
"Labor's track record is littered with insidious and deceptive policies which are designed to cripple forestry, grazing, agricultural and responsible vegetation management practices throughout the State.
"They are determined to lock out anyone and any activity from our national parks.
"The bee industry needs access to the forests within national parks to keep its industry and Gympie's thriving small crops and horticultural sector alive.
"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,” he said