Page 3628 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 22 November 2022

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sample of ACT beekeepers, a beekeeper webinar, and restrictions on the movement into the ACT of European honey bees, hives and apiary equipment that have been in New South Wales. These restrictions will remain in place until it is considered that the varroa mite no longer poses a threat to the ACT.

I am also happy to report that the ACT has supported the New South Wales response activities. Over the last three months, the ACT has deployed more than 25 staff from EPSDD and TCCS to the New South Wales varroa mite response. On top of this, the ACT has a dedicated biosecurity planning and response team that continually monitors the biosecurity threat environment. This team works closely with the commonwealth, state and territory governments, as well as industry, to identify and manage biosecurity risks and outbreaks.

The ACT government is working to harmonise and strengthen its existing suite of biosecurity legislation and is planning to strengthen biosecurity preparedness in our jurisdiction. Minister Steel has outlined some of the great work that is occurring across ACT government to support bees and other pollinators. I would also like to highlight the work of the Environment, Heritage and Water Division of EPSDD, which is running the Urban Habitat and Connectivity Project. This project quantifies and maps potential habitat for pollinators and wildlife in the ACT, and will use these maps and tools to maintain and enhance connectivity in future urban planning.

Insect pollinators are one of the taxa that the work has focused on. Workshops were held with native bee experts to quantify habitat requirements, barriers to movement and capacity for movement. An output of this work will be technical guidelines to help inform the composition and location of habitat for insect pollinators, with a focus on native bees. There is more detailed vegetation mapping currently underway, which will provide better data to inform this work in the next year or two. I really look forward to these results. Of course, there is much more work to be done. Some of these programs will need to be scaled up and funded into the longer term.

I am glad to note that Ms Orr and everyone across the chamber are allies in this area, and look forward to continuing our commitment to the health and abundance of pollinators in the ACT. One of the only disappointments in this debate has been the lack of bee puns! I think we have only had one.

To conclude, I wish to recognise the great work that is happening across the city to celebrate and protect our bees. ACT for Bees and others are real champions of this work. I had the pleasure and privilege of joining the ACT-NSW Rotarians for Bees, ACT for Bees and other pollinators for lunch and a tour of bee-friendly Hall at the end of October. To me, this demonstrated what can be readily achieved in a committed community, and it is a real sign of good things to come to protect our pollinators. I am pleased to be able to support this motion.

DR PATERSON (Murrumbidgee) (3.37), in reply: In closing, I would like to thank members for their support of this motion. I would also like to thank Ms Orr for the privilege of being able to deliver this motion on her behalf today. I do feel that I am giving back in some way, because there have been a few bees over the years that have sacrificed their lives to sting my children.

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