Small scale bee keepers in NSW must not be left out of any Government compensation as Varroa Mite spread worsens
Small scale and hobby apiarists must be included in any compensation plan for Varroa mite infestations in NSW and not just the large scale commercial operators and agribusiness. Non-commercial beekeepers provide vital pollination services throughout NSW and often at personal cost and should be supported by any Government grant that seeks to restart hives that can cost upwards of $1000 per hive.
Greens NSW MP Sue Higginson and spokesperson for agriculture said “The Government needs to include small scale registered apiarists in any conversations that are occurring in response to the Varroa mite outbreak in NSW,”
“Commercial operators and agribusiness are being considered for compensation as millions of bees are destroyed due to the eradication zone focussed on the Port of Newcastle but smaller apiarist operations that are currently in the surveillance zone are rightly worried that their companion bees and livelihoods could go up in smoke if the red zone expands,”
“All beekeepers provide a vital and often expensive service to flowering plants and agriculture across NSW, many without any significant income or reward. If these operators are forced to destroy their hives without compensation then many of them will be unable to restart their businesses or hobbies,”
“Registered beekeepers in NSW need to be involved in the conversation that the Minister for Agriculture is having with the Department and with agribusinesses to ensure that their vital work can continue if their hives are also destroyed,”
“The Department should be contacting these registered apiarists with updates as regularly as large commercial operators are and should absolutely be included in any compensation plan that is implemented to help the industry recovery,”
“Many small operators are calling out for help from the Government in the form of preventative measures so that this outbreak can be contained through individual hives as well as through the state-wide biosecurity controls,”
“Small apiarists serve a vital function as small business owners and as environmental defenders. The Government should recognise that these people deserve recognition of their dedication and hardwork so that they can rebuild after this crisis has passed,” Ms Higginson said.