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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 13 Hansard (Thursday, 19 November 2015) . . Page.. 4303 ..

Beekeeping is regulated in all other Australian states. It is important that the ACT is also able to fulfil its national obligations when it comes to biosecurity. Under the present system, if bees in the ACT become infected neither the government nor local beekeepers would be able to easily trace the source of the infection or contain it. Unlike livestock that can be quarantined, bees are of course very difficult to contain when infection is discovered; so its spread must be stopped quickly.

At present the government does not even know how many beekeepers there are in the ACT and preventing the movement of infected bees would be impossible. This bill is designed to cause minimal disruption to beekeepers while still ensuring that the government has access to the information that it needs in case of a biosecurity incident. The bill requires beekeepers to be registered. The requirement only applies to beekeepers whose hives are exclusively located in the ACT. This means that beekeepers who operate in New South Wales will not be registered or be required to register in the ACT. Large commercial producers will not be covered by this registration scheme because they will be all registered in New South Wales.

Registration will be valid for three years. I would think this is a reasonable time frame which ensures that the government does not lose track of beekeepers but beekeepers are not forced to re-register every year. Beekeepers must also update their details if they change. Beekeepers will be required to keep records so that movements of hives can be tracked. This will include information about each time the hives are moved, lost or stolen, destroyed or given to another person. Each registered beekeeper will receive a registration number. This number must be displayed on the outside of every hive brood box that the beekeeper owns so that it can easily be identified if need be.

The minister has indicated that he will be reissuing the existing beekeeping code which deals with bee and hive health as well as animal nuisance issues. The bill also allows authorised officers to take enforcement action in relation to bees as required. The opposition is pleased to support this bill which brings the ACT into line with other states and will provide information to the government which we would hope will improve bee management and biosecurity in the territory.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo—Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Justice, Minister for Sport and Recreation and Minister assisting the Chief Minister on Transport Reform) (5.45), in reply: I thank members for their support for this important bill today. As I outlined when I presented the bill, it introduces a new part to the Animal Diseases Act 2005 and provides for the registration of beekeepers in the ACT, the keeping of records and the numbering of brood boxes.

Importantly, through the capture of contact details, it allows the authorities to contact beekeepers in relation to a bee biosecurity incident or risk. The bill gives legislative support to these biosecurity defence mechanisms, which will ensure that in the event of a bee biosecurity incident there can be fast and effective location of beekeepers and their hives in the ACT. This in turn will lead to the better management and planning of bee biosecurity responses, incidents and risks.

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