An elected Daley Labor Government would introduce free registration for amateur beekeepers with less than five hives, recognising the value and contribution of bees to the environment and food production.
Without bees, pollination would need to be artificial and add significant expense to the cost of producing food and fibre in NSW. Bees are responsible for the pollination of approximately 30% of the State’s food.
Beekeeper associations were concerned that fees imposed by the Berejkilian Government were discouraging people (anywhere up to 50% of hives) from registering.
Labor also said that beekeeping, particularly in urban areas, was a great way of educating kids and the broader community about agricultural and food production.
“Bees play a unique role in primary production – besides a source of food, bees are critical in pollination of many crops,” Shadow Minister for Primary Industries Mick Veitch said.
“It’s quite simple really - fewer bees means less food produced at higher prices”
Labor said the minor loss in revenue was more than compensated with encouraging amateur beekeeping, higher registrations and a better picture of where hives were located.
The annual gross value of honey and associated bee products in Australia is almost $100 million. Various estimates of net benefit to the broader food and fibre industry ranges from $4 to 6 billion. The NSW apiary industry represents around 40% of the total honey crop in Australia.
Making the announcement in the inner city, hives in suburbs like Marrickville acted as frontline defence against incursion of biosecurity threats that may emanate from the nearby airport and Port Botany.
“When it comes to honey and food production – hives like these are literally the canaries in the mines”, Member for Summer Hill
“Today’s announcement follows through on a petition I started last year to remove these fees to encourage amateur beekeeping and better protect our bees.
Labor also announced a series of initiatives for commercial producers, provide $1 million over 4 years for a “Bees for the Environment” grants program to assist apiarists establishing environmentally friendly operations on public land.
An additional position within Primary Industries would be created to manage the program and would work with amateurs and professionals alike in ensuring a disease free apiary industry in NSW.
A Labor Government would sit down with industry and work towards a Memorandum of Understanding that recognised amongst other things the role and value of the industry, aims to streamline approvals of longer term tenures, promoted access to appropriate public lands, as well as recognising National Best Management Practice Guidelines