Page 3624 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 22 November 2022

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such an environmentally conscious constituency. People recognise and value the essential work that bees and other pollinators do for our ecosystem. I know many residents keep their own bees, keep their own hives. There are businesses that have bees and hives on the roofs of their office blocks, and there are people who produce their own honey. For example, in my own neighbourhood in Fadden I know Amanda has hives in her front yard. A young boy called Declan has set up a fresh honey stand outside of his house to make a bit of pocket money. Shout out to Honey Boy Declan. He produces a range of raw and flavoured honey.

Just the other week, I attended the launch of a book about bees called Native bees of the ACT and New South Wales South Coast. A spotter’s guide by local author Peter Abbott. It was a great event held at the Australian National Botanic Gardens and it was very informative and educational about native bees. We also have a number of bee-orientated organisations here in Canberra such as ACT for Bees and ACT Beekeepers Association. These and other organisations conduct important education and awareness work. They are mostly volunteers and I thank them for their volunteer work. They conduct important education and awareness work to help inform the community about bees, how to make your home and your garden more suitable to their needs and about the importance of these pollinators. Bees and other pollinators have such an important role in the health of our environment and in food production globally. In just one day the average bee can visit more than 2,000 flowers and will greatly increase the likelihood of a plant producing a fruit or vegetable. So much of our food depends on our pollinators.

Sadly, however, there have been a growing number of threats to bees and other pollinators; climate change, parasites, pathogens, agricultural pesticides and malnutrition are all serious concerns bees and other pollinators are facing. We have heard in the news about the recent varroa mite infestation. Australia had previously been one of the very few countries in the world that was varroa-mite free. That is no longer the case and it is a grave biosecurity threat for our beekeeper population.

In recent annual report hearings I asked the minister about the fertilisers used on ACT sports grounds. To my knowledge, based on first thing this morning, I had not received a response to that, to check whether the fertilisers that are used are friendly to bees and other pollinators. Organic fertiliser and fertiliser without any pesticides are safe, but fertiliser with pesticides will harm bees and fertilisers with herbicides may harm bees indirectly. So that is why I am very happy to support Ms Orr’s motion today calling on the ACT government to outline the variety and types of bees and other pollinators in Canberra; the current populations and locations of native hives, feral European bee hives, and beekeepers and their hives; what the ACT government currently does to support our bee and other pollinator population; the response to currently identified threats to the ACT’s bee and other pollinator’s populations; current biosecurity threats and the government’s response to an endemic threat; how Canberrans are educated on the importance and role of bees and other pollinators within our environment; ongoing activities; and potential opportunities where the ACT government and the Canberra community can collaborate to better protect our bees and other pollinators. The motion calls on the government to report these findings to the Assembly by World Bee Day on Saturday, 20 May next year. Like many others, I will be very interested to read those findings, and I hope Ms Orr’s government colleagues support this motion today.

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