Page 1156 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 4 May 2022

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environment, ecosystems and our food production systems. I am very happy to see members of this place continue to engage with bee health in the ACT. It seems that the personal commitments to this cause grow every Bee Day, and I welcome the enthusiasm. As I have said in this place before, the health of our bee population reflects the health of our ecosystem, with different types of bees, native wasps and other insects playing a key role as pollinators across countless plant species, native or introduced.

Indeed, Australia is home to around 2,000 species of native bees. Many of these species provide niche and key pollinator roles for specific species with which they have evolved symbiotic relationships and features. We also rely on a healthy bee population for food security, which depends on the bees who currently pollinate two-thirds of our food production.

Regrettably, bee populations right across the world are being threatened due to the overuse of pesticides, herbicides and modern agricultural practices which make them more vulnerable to disease and human interference, which contributes to their declining habitat and food resources.

I have a record in this place of advocating for the rewilding of cities as a particularly compelling solution to this startling global decline in bee populations. For governments, the practice of rewilding cities can take a variety of forms—for example, facilitating the development and upkeep of bee-friendly gardens, reducing pesticide use in public spaces, including schools and parks and on roadside plantings, and prioritising bee population health to the fullest possible extent of existing regulatory frameworks when it becomes time to administer them.

The great initiative which has been progressed by this government is the development of micro-forests in our suburbs. This is a community-focused project which not only provides for more pollinator-friendly areas but also provides increased tree canopy and adopts a park-style community engagement as part of the government’s ongoing program of planting 54,000 more trees in the city by 2024. There are micro-forests being developed by communities in the territory, and I am looking forward to seeing some of them pop up in my own electorate.

Education is a necessary part of helping the community to contribute to keeping the bee population healthy. As I have noted in this place in the past, ACT for Bees have done some great work in this area, in particular with their curriculum development to help to increase education and awareness. I would encourage members and anyone else who tunes in to today’s sitting to visit for an impressive collection of resources on how individuals can best promote bee health in the ACT, including art movements, gardening for bee health, educational resources and scientific literature, with accessible options for all age groups.

I would also note that families and individuals can celebrate World Bee Day on the 21st and 22nd of this month by enjoying the fun activities to support our hardworking pollinators at the Capital Region Farmers Market or a screening of Hive at the Kambri Cultural Centre.

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