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Leatherwood MOU

leatherwood honey jars
'honey harvest' courtesy lowlevelrebel (Flickr)

In a press release issued on 10 Nov, Guy Barnett, Minister for Primary Industries and Water, announced the signing of a memorandum of agreement regarding leatherwood between Sustainable Timber Tasmania, Tasmanian Beekeepers Association and Australian Honey Bee Industry Council.

The press release (included below) acknowledges the value of the apiary industry extends well beyond honey production and that the industry plays a vital part in supporting other primary production via provision of pollination services. Missing from the press release was any link to the actual MOU. That was kindly provided by AHBIC CEO, Sarah Paradice. The document is available here.

The memorandum contains laudable principles and objectives. Essentially the ‘understanding’ is that both industries – forestry and beekeeping – will communicate regularly, give each other prior notice of public utterances that involve the other party where practicable, and in the event of conflict senior management and industry representatives will get involved and work to resolve the issue or come up with a mutually agreed process for arriving at a resolution. Technical details like acreages, access and planning are not mentioned, presumably to be sorted out on the run, based on the principles and processes agreed to in the MOU.

Questions about the specific details that need to be agreed for the apiary industry to plan its future actions have been directed to all parties, but as at 24/11/2019 only AHBIC have responded as detailed above.

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10 November 2019
Guy Barnett, Minister for Primary Industries and Water
Agreement to bee the answer for leatherwood access

The Hodgman majority Liberal Government recognises the value of Tasmania’s honey and pollination industries, which is why we committed $750,000 over three years for the Bee Industry Futures actions and remain committed to ensuring the maximum practical access to Leatherwood.Today the Government welcomes Tasmanian Beekeepers Association, Australian Honey Bee Industry Council and Sustainable Timber Tasmania (STT) signing an MOU that will ensure the ongoing protection and provide maximum practical access to Leatherwood trees on STT managed land.
The nation leading agreement will ensure STT has Planning Guidelines for Apiary Values agreed to inform the management of operations across the forest landscape where it coincides with apiary resources.
This is a great example of Tasmania’s primary industries working together for mutually beneficial, sustainable outcomes.
While STT has long supported the apiary industry by providing access to important apiary resources such as manuka and leatherwood, this agreement formalises the strong working relationship.
Beekeepers not only produce iconic leatherwood honey, a premium and exclusively Tasmanian product, they also provide bees to pollinate many of our highest value fruit, cereal and vegetable crops.
These pollination services make a critical contribution and have higher economic value than honey production, which had a 2017-18 farm-gate value for honey and bees wax in excess of $8 million and exports worth $2.4 million.
The Hodgman majority Liberal Government remains committed to continuing to work closely with the industry to create a clear vision to support a strong, sustainable future for the Tasmanian honey and pollination industries.

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