Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 05 Hansard (Tuesday, 8 May 2018) . . Page.. 1591 ..
Restrictions on neonic use would not only have an impact on our natural environment but they may also have positive spill-over effects on consumers as reports have come out about pesticide contamination in honey. It has also been linked with the death of migratory birds and interfering with migratory flocks’ navigation.
I look forward to the ACT becoming a bee-friendly city and the government working with the community and the bees to progress the essential work to do this.
MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (3.48): I would like to thank Ms Le Couteur for bringing on this very interesting topic today. I think it does demonstrate the juxtaposition between the matters that we have talked about today, such as a crisis in our health service, and the topic we are discussing today in the MPI.
We do not have a large formal or commercial honey industry as such in the ACT but we do have a number of amateur beekeepers here in Canberra. And with so many enthusiastic gardeners and large areas of bushland, is it any wonder that it is a popular hobby? We do have the ACT Beekeepers Association and if you visit the Jerrabomberra wetlands, for example, you will see that they have a number of hives there which enable their resident bees to access the wide variety of vegetation and plants there at the Jerrabomberra wetlands.
You will see that in other areas in our suburban and urban landscape as well. There are hotels and businesses that are installing hives on top of their businesses. It is another way to ensure the ongoing viability of that amateur and not so amateur beekeeping here in the ACT.
Hives in the ACT do have to be registered through the Transport and City Services Directorate and anyone selling honey also has to be registered. And while beekeeping may only be small in the ACT, in other parts of Australia the bee industry makes a significant contribution to the economy. The Australian honeybee industry has over 12,000 producers, with over half a million hives in most states of Australia.
They produce between 20,000 and 30,000 tonnes of honey annually, which makes Australia one of the top 10 honey-producing countries in the world. A lot of the honey that we produce here is exported to a variety of countries in both bulk and retail shipments. Australia is the fourth largest exporter of honey in the world after China, Argentina and Mexico. I guess that is a good trivial pursuit question for you.
Australian honey varieties are recognised for their high quality and unique flavours, including a variety of eucalypt nectars such as yellow box, grey box, river red gum, stringy bark and red box in Tasmania. Leatherwood honey is also a unique and popular flavour and of course many people will have heard of Manuka honey, depending on how you choose to pronounce it. Australian honey can be found throughout the world—Europe, Asia, North America, Middle East, Argentina—and at least one of our Australian honey producers, Capilano, has operations in several overseas countries.