Beekeeping allowed to continue in Queensland national parks for now
Published Monday, 11 October, 2021 at 11:30 AM
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities
The Honourable Mark Furner
The Queensland Government has approved the preparation of legislative amendments to grant a 20-year extension to allow beekeeping to continue in national parks until 2044.
The move to amend the Nature Conservation Act early next year delivers on a promise of a reprieve Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk gave beekeepers during last year’s election campaign.
The decision will formally extend beekeeping permits for a further 20 years in certain national parks that were created as part of the SEQ Forest Agreement in 1999.
Under the current Act apiarists were required to transition out of national parks by the end of 2024, however successive Queensland Governments and the industry have been unable to find suitable alternative honey sites for beekeeping.
Beekeeping had traditionally been conducted uninterrupted on State Forests and forest reserves until the introduction of the SEQ Forestry Agreement consigned some state forests and forest reserves, containing 1088 apiary sites into 49 national parks.
Queensland beekeepers have consistently warned their industry could be severely impacted if alternative sites for their hives could not be located between now and 2024.
Beekeeping services are a lynchpin for Queensland’s multi-billion-dollar fruit and vegetable growing industry, with pollination services playing a critical role in each season’s crop.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development Mark Furner said this is an important decision as the ability of the industry may be impacted if alternative sites could not be located between now and the end of next year.
“Amending the act will support the continuation of beekeeping in certain national parks while the Government works with industry and other key stakeholders to identify alternative sites for the future relocation of beekeeping off national parks.
“Nor will beekeeping be allowed in national parks where it was not already authorised immediately before the land became national park,” Mr Furner said.
Around 75% of the beekeeping industry clusters around Wide Bay Burnett, Gympie, and the Lockyer Valley, Toowoomba, and Scenic Rim areas.
The Queensland Beekeepers Association welcomed the 20-year reprieve it has long advocated for.
State Secretary Jo Martin says it gives the industry confidence to invest in the future.
“On-going climate change and increasing isolated rainfall events are impacting the capacity of our beekeeping industry.
“Over the past 100 years and after prolonged droughts and bushfires, beekeepers’ access to National Park apiary sites has been the key to the industry’s survival.
“These sites in Queensland’s National Parks produce world class honey and are a short-stay, safe haven for honey bee colonies to be strengthened and conditioned ahead of them providing critical pollination services for the state’s growing horticultural sector,” Ms Martin said.
“Extending the permits period for National Parks ensures beekeepers can access the nutritional resources needed to nourish their honey bee colonies.”
“On current trend, Queensland’s beekeeping industry will need to increase in size by over one-third in the next decade, such is the demand from berry fruit, nut growers and horticulturalists for pollinating bees.”
Published figures have estimated the honey bee industry contributes approximately $2.4b to the Queensland economy each year.
Media Contact Ron Goodman 0427 781 920
Qld Beekeepers Association Jo Martin 0498 000 496