Mad March has lived up to its reputation. The Varroa response continues to grow in size, however the NSW DPI keep delivering their best effort to resource it and continue with eradication. The executive came together in Canberra to hold an executive meeting and a strategic planning workshop. I have been busy with CCEPP and NMG commitments along with meetings with Plant Health Australia, Department of Agriculture and CRC for pollination meetings this month.
The response continues to find low level detections in the purple zones. Whilst not unexpected it is slowly growing the red zones and encompassing more beekeepers and hives. It is devastating for those caught in the red and purple zones.
A focus on surveillance in the southern end of the Central Coast complex is underway to gain confidence there are no mites in the suburban areas of Sydney. Tracing work and general blue zone surveillance also continues.
Negotiations for permit framework has meant hives have been moved into the Nana Glen red zone to facilitate pollination on a one-way trip. Compliance continues to be an important part of the response with additional compliance staff recruited into the response. A greater focus on blue zone movement declarations and alcohol wash submissions will increase the amount of penalty notices issued.
CRC for Pollination Security
The first stage application for the CRC for Pollination Security has been submitted by the CRC bid team. This has been a huge undertaking for the bid team to get the application in. AHBIC was unable to support the bid through a partner declaration (a pledge of in-kind financial support) at the 11th hour due to concerns around how the application was written and how it reflected our industry.
This was a tough decision for the executive to make as it has significant implications. It was the strong view of the executive that the application didn’t reflect our industry positively. The clear goal of the CRC to find alternatives to honeybees for pollination also wasn’t in the best interest of creating a prosperous honey bee industry. The AHBIC executive is willing to work with the CRC for Pollination Security in the future should the opportunity arise. AHBIC did however provide a letter of support to the bid.
The Month Ahead
AHBIC is participating in the AgriFutures Levied Industry Forum to discuss common issues across industries and work on solutions with an opportunity to provide feedback to AgriFutures. I will be attending the national biosecurity roundtable towards the end of March and a Forum in Dubbo on transitioning away from diesel. We continue to meet with government to lobby for better pre-border testing of imported honey.