Weather News

Queensland to delay lockout of commercial beekeepers from national parks

Monday October 11, 2021 - 21:55 EDT
ABC image
Honey production in Queensland has plummeted during the drought. - ABC

The Queensland government has announced legislative amendments to postpone a lockout of beekeepers from some national parks for 20 years.


Beekeepers were to lose access to apiary sites at the end of 2024, but planned amendments to the Nature Conservation Act 1992 will formally extend that deadline to 2044.


Queensland Beekeepers Association state secretary Jo Martin said the industry was elated.


"This delivery of the decision has been a very long time coming for the association," she said.


"This amendment being delivered will give a lot of people some promise and hope that brighter days are definitely ahead."


Honey bee lockout


The 2024 deadline was part of the South East Queensland Forest Agreement signed in 1999, which changed the tenure of state forests and forest reserves containing 1,088 apiary sites into 49 national parks.


Industries such as beekeeping and native timber were expected to transition away from the newly formed national parks as part of the deal.


However, the state government and the beekeeping industry have yet to find suitable alternative honey sites for beekeeping.


Minister for Agricultural Industry Development Mark Furner said the industry would face hardship without alternative sites.


"Amending the act will support the continuation of beekeeping in certain national parks while the government works with industry and other key stakeholders to identify alternative sites for the future relocation of beekeeping off national parks," he said.


Around 75 per cent of the beekeeping industry is clustered around Wide Bay Burnett, Gympie and the Lockyer Valley, Toowoomba and Scenic Rim areas, according to the industry.


Beekeeping debate continues


Ms Martin said the 20-year extension was a reprieve, but the industry would continue to work with government to remove deadlines altogether.


"[The extension] does give us some breathing room, but it is still not the ultimate deliverable for us," she said.


"We will continue our advocacy work and continue consultations with the Queensland government to reaffirm there are no consequences of our involvement and activity in newly formed national parks."


There is an ongoing debate on the effects of managed honeybee activity in national parks.


The National Parks Association of Queensland (NPAQ) has previously signalled its intention to lodge a submission against the extension of apiary permits in national parks.


It believes beekeeping is an incompatible use of national parks and increases biosecurity risks in national parks.


On the other hand, the beekeeping industry says there is no evidence it is having a negative effect.


Reprieve from drought


The extension of apiary permits in national parks comes as Queensland beekeepers try to recover from drought.


Ms Martin said the ongoing drought had made floral resources scarce, and honey production in the last two years had plummeted as a result.


"We were down about 85 per cent the last few years, so it has really been a hard time," she said.


The industry estimates up to 60 per cent of the state's beekeepers have moved their hives south to New South Wales, where significant rain has broken the drought.


Warwick beekeeper and Queensland Beekeeping Association president Jacob Stevens said the ongoing access to national parks was imperative for the survival of beekeeping businesses.


"Unlike some of our southern states, we haven't had the significant rainfall and we don't have significant prospects going forward," he said.


"National parks are a very important resource for us in that they're in a very natural state and can be very valuable resources in terms of the floral varieties they can provide."


Mr Furner said the industry would still need to find new sites and transition away from national parks. 


"Potentially, what we're going to find is that there are not going to be a lot of alternate places," Mr Stevens said.


The legislative amendments for a 20-year extension to apiary permits are being drafted, and the beekeeping industry expects the government to introduce them to Parliament this month.







- ABC

© ABC 2021

More breaking news

Sydney Morning Herald
ABC News
9News
news.com.au

Display Your Local Weather

Weather News

Record-breaking hail hits central Queensland

20:51 EDT

Monstrous hailstones measuring 16 centimetres in diameter fell to the ground in central Queensland on Tuesday, likely setting a new Australian record for hail size.

Record-challenging October heatwave in central and northern Australia

17:13 EDT

An intense early-season heatwave will send temperatures soaring across central and northern Australia this week, with some places likely to get close to their October records.

Get a sneak peak into the new Weatherzone Beta website experience while we continue to build out its full functionality.
Explore new datasets, map layers, 7-day charts, 12-month trends and much more!