House debates

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Statements by Members

Gold Coast Amateur Beekeepers Society

1:31 pm

Photo of Karen AndrewsKaren Andrews (McPherson, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

On Sunday I had the great pleasure of opening the Gold Coast Amateur Beekeepers Society Field Day and I want to speak about this event, as beekeeping is probably one of our least understood and least acknowledged agricultural industries in Australia—yet it is also one of our most crucial.

It has been estimated that honey bees are responsible for pollinating 70 per cent of the 100 crops that provide 90 per cent of the world's food. While the production of honey is an important part of the industry, there is little doubt that pollination services—both contracted and incidental—are crucial to Australia's horticulture industry. And, while beekeeping is a fascinating and rewarding hobby for many amateur beekeepers, I also know that there are enormous financial pressures and demands on commercial beekeepers.

In Australia the honey bee industry includes 12,250 registered beekeepers operating 524,000 hives. An amazing 87 per cent of those registered are small hobby keepers, tending to around 35 per cent of the total hive numbers. Approximately 65 per cent of the total number of hives are managed by about 1,650 commercial beekeepers.

I very much commend the Gold Coast Amateur Beekeepers Society for their work in putting the open day together. Congratulations to president John Polley and his team for coordinating such a great community event, which helps promote awareness of such a vital industry. It's quite remarkable that such a specialist association has grown and gone from strength to strength over the 35 years since its inception.