Australia’s bee population will be protected and supported with a $1.5 million grant to raise awareness and ensure bee health and longevity.
On a visit to Tasmania, Nationals Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie said the grant—awarded to AgriFutures Australia—delivered on an election commitment made by the Liberal and Nationals Government.
“It will fund activities to support the Australian honey bee industry and to promote the crucial role the humble bee plays in supporting food production,” Minister McKenzie said.
“Many of us enjoy the honey our 12,000 registered beekeepers and their half a million hives produce but there is a lot more to the industry.
“The role of honey bees in agriculture and horticulture cannot be understated—the annual economic value of honey bee pollination in Australia is $14.2 billion.
“And of course honey and beeswax generate export dollars for our nation—all the way back through the farmgate—about $45 million worth a year.
“Pollination is essential for staples like apples and pears, cherries, berries, almonds and canola—that’s why we need to maintain the health of our bees and reduce risks to their population.
“AgriFutures Australia will work with the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council and state associations to develop resources and raise awareness among professional beekeepers, recreational beekeepers and the public, about what they can do to help protect our buzzing pollinators.
“They’ll also support research to develop new non-obtrusive methods of hive assessment to enable early identification of bee and hive health problems.
“Some of the grant will be used to better understand floral resource management and the effects different approaches has on bees.
“Given 70 per cent of our honey comes from nectar from native plants access to state forests is critical.
“We need to arm the beekeeping industry with the additional tools and knowledge they need to support the health of bees into the future and to continue to safeguard against population decline.
“Pollination remains a critical factor for the agriculture industry if we’re going to reach our shared goal of $100 billion by 2030.”
Member for Braddon, Gavin Pearce, said Tasmanian honey was in demand the world over for its safe nutritious health benefits.
“Our host today, local apiarist Lindsay Bourke, has been recognised by Fine Foods as producing the best honey in all of Australia,” Mr Pearce said.
“It’s important that we talk up our great Tasmanian produce and its fabulous provenance in our clean green state.”
Tasmania’s Minister for Primary Industries and Water Guy Barnett said the Hodgman majority Liberal Government welcomed the Coalition Government’s funding investment to support Tasmania’s honey and pollination industries.
“The Tasmanian Government recognises the value of our honey and pollination sector, which is why we committed $750,000 over three years for the Bee Industry Futures actions,” Minister Barnett said.
The Nationals and Liberal Government knows that agriculture has a strong future and investments like today backs the heavy lifters, the humble bee.”