SYLH Presidents Report May 2019


Since my report published in the TBA News Letter on the 1st of March 2019, the bushfires in Tasmania have finally been extinguished.

While a full assessment of the extent of destruction of hives and leatherwood growth and access infrastructure is still underway, it is clear that many beekeepers in the Midlands, West and South have been seriously affected. Coupled with the hot dry Summer this adds up to a disastrous year for beekeepers state wide and honey production, with a similar affect on the ability to deliver pollination services to the agricultural sector. Pollination will be seriously affected as will the production of the fruit, vegetable seed and broad acre crops.

During this period the Planning Guidelines for Apiary Values agreement between STT and the TBA dealing with wood harvesting and leatherwood retention was after 2 1/2 years of hard work and lobbying, finalised. Our executive committee negotiated and in many cases carried out all the document production and proofing, as well as the attendance at negotiations with STT by your president. All this took long hours of work including discussions and drafting.

While we were celebrating the completion of the Guidelines, STT advised that the district wide 3 year plan mapping showing wood harvesting coupes and hive sites could not be prepared and supplied to our industry. The reason given was staffing restrictions and a change in business focus.

After sharing this news with the TBA we were authorised to negotiate with the STT to have the decision reversed.  Access to plans has been and remains critical to large beekeepers to enable them to properly plan their operations, and our work in summarising the same for the information of medium to smalls beekeepers on the affect of wood harvesting on remaining stands of leatherwood. Our submissions to STT were eventually successful and the mapping is now available to all Tasmanian Districts.

Once the above mentioned Planning Guidelines have been signed, STT`s compliance with the same will be greatly enhanced by the existence of the mapping.

When the damage to road and bridge access to sites has been assessed we can recommence our core work which is to inspect the 3 year plan mapping and ensure STT is preserving the leatherwood resource as provided in the Planning Guidelines. 
We have now received the mapping and our work has commenced. When the condition of access to sites has been assessed we will apply to the appropriate land manager to repair the access sufficient to enable beekeepers to access their sites (and any new sites which they may discover).

If and when STT is granted FSC certification, it will enable us to report any variation occurring  in relation to the Planning Guidelines as the certification has independent force with the risk of suspension if variations are not rectified as prescribed by the auditor. We will keep you informed as the above processes play out

Finally, we have met with the FSC auditors in support of the Southern  Beekeepers submission to that group. As a Stakeholder of STT the Southern Beekeepers were invited to lodge a submission and attend a meeting which has now concluded. When the audit is complete and a decision reached as to success or otherwise as to the STT`s application for FSC certification, we will inform you further. 

Bob Davey. (President).