SUBJECT: Bee hives at Parliament House.


SUBJECT: Bee hives at Parliament House

JOEL FITZGIBBON, SHADOW MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, FORESTRY AND RURAL AND REGIONAL AUSTRALIA: Bees play a critical role in our food security in Australia but face biosecurity threats, so we need to protect them. They have been challenged by issues like climate change. We need to ensure our biosecurity measures are keeping the diseases and challenges of other countries out of Australia. We are not investing enough in our biosecurity. We are visiting here our new residents in Parliament House - these honey bees behind us. Full marks to parliament and its various departments for following a very fine tradition by installing a hive here on the ground of Parliament House which is an environment that is of course pesticides free which is very important. Meryl Swanson, the Member for Paterson is with me and is a key member of the Parliamentary Committee that has been looking into biosecurity with our bees. She has come up with some great ideas on how we can do things better.

MERYL SWANSON, MEMBER FOR PATERSON: We had the pleasure yesterday of releasing Safe Keeping, the biosecurity measures that need to be taken. Bees are critical to food security and are critical to agriculture with the pollination of crops. Indirectly they are worth $4 billion a year to Australia. We absolutely need them and want to keep them safe. One of the recommendations in a series of recommendations is about monitoring ports and having sentinel hives and catch boxes. One of the things the Australian public can get involved in is the recommendation that I was responsible for making and that is we have a smart phone app so people are able to capture a photograph of a bee and potentially we will use that to create a catalogue of information about the bees across Australia and how we can best protect them.

JOURNALIST: What will happen to the honey?

SWANSON: I think the Shadow Minister for Agriculture will be having the honey on his Weet-bix.

FITZGIBBON: I pull rank on the honey, only one jar available this morning but I’m sure we will have another jar or two. My message to the Australian community is that we do need to take care of our environment and we do need to protect our bees from evasive species that are found around the world. Full marks to everyone here at Parliament House and their partners, they are doing a great job.


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