Wow. What an introduction to the job as the new chair of AHBIC. Becoming the new chair at the AHBIC AGM on the 12th of Jun 22 I knew I had a steep learning curve in front of me. On the 21st of June I was informed that varroa mites had been positively identified at Newcastle port surveillance hives. By Saturday 25th June AHBIC had our acting CEO Danny Le Feuvre as an Industry Liaison Officer (ILO) at the State Control Centre (SCC) in Orange NSW. Obviously, the Newcastle varroa mite incursion has been AHBIC’s primary focus. For me the steep curve became vertical.
The lobbying and input that all our industry ILO’s have provided to DPI has been instrumental in working risk managed solutions being arrived at to allow most NSW beekeepers to maintain their businesses. Without these ILO’s the Owner Reimbursement of Costs (ORC) would be very much in the embryonic stage rather than being close for those beekeepers in the red zones being able to submit claims for reimbursement.
For all ILO’s including those at the Local Control Centre (LCC) a thank you for selflessly giving up time with your business, your families and your free time to help our industry through this crisis. There have been many volunteers both recreational and commercial beekeepers who have helped in work crews that industry also owe a big thank you to. Volunteers have come from every state.
I would like to thank Trevor Weatherhead OAM for his tireless work as the chair of AHBIC. Trevor has continued to mentor me and provide information and advice. Congratulations to Ben Mckee on his re-election to the executive of AHBIC. Ben has provided valuable input to AHBIC since the AGM. Congratulations to Jon Lockwood on being elected to the executive at the AGM. Jon has been quick to step up to the plate and has been an ILO and has provided insightful input at the several AHBIC meetings since the AGM. Therese Kershaw and Stephen Fewster continue to provide valuable input and have made me feel welcome as the new chair – thank you.
At the AGM the previous board had not finalised their selection for the new CEO. I asked the previous board to continue with the selection process (which was at the short list stage where I was invited to sit in on the final interviews) to find the most suitable CEO. As most people know Danny Le Feuvre was selected as the new CEO. I have great confidence in the panel that selected Danny was done so based purely on merit. Congratulations Danny. The executive has been blessed to have a CEO with extensive industry knowledge which Danny has used to the extreme in his many weeks as an ILO at the SCC providing input to NSW DPI.
Danny Le Feuvre was on the AHBIC executive and as CEO has resigned from the executive which means there is now one vacancy. Correspondence has gone out asking for nominations. There will shortly be an AHBIC member meeting where the new executive member will be elected.
For those with a longer memory, in June AHBIC hosted a successful congress at Rosehill racecourse in Sydney. Thank you to all those that helped make this event happen. It certainly was a team effort. There are many people to thank and that will happen next newsletter. However, three people who rate a BIG thank you are Dr Shona Blair, Elizabeth Frost and Therese Kershaw. AHBIC and industry thank you.
It has NOT been business as usual at AHBIC and for that I make no apology. AHBIC’s priority is this varroa incursion. AHBIC executive has been meeting to provide guidance to the CEO on the way forward with this incursion. AHBIC listened to our member bodies and instigated nightly information updates on the incursion which have now been reduced to three times a week. These zoom meetings achieve two things, keeping our member bodies informed and also giving feedback to AHBIC executive and CEO.
You may have heard that AHBIC is investigating getting secretarial support for the CEO. The CEO is working 7 days a week, at least 12 hours a day to stay across incursion response issues and cover the time critical AHBIC tasks. AHBIC executive and I appreciate the hours that Danny is putting in which is way more than his contract states. The Secretarial support will enable more timely updates on Facebook, website, Newsletters, commencing subcommittee meetings which have been on hold and typing up of many minutes. This will enable the CEO to continue to be across the incursion and progress other AHBIC priorities. Given AHBIC’s current finances the secretarial position will be reviewed regularly.
This message would not be complete without acknowledging the sacrifice, dedication and professionalism that Stephen Fuller and Sheila Stokes have shown at the LCC and SCC. I have been extremely pleased with the work that all ILO’s that have represented AHBIC at the SCC.
I have been in the chair position for less than 70 days and while the job is not yet what I imagined, it has been rewarding and I have learnt a lot – with a lot more to learn. The most important item I have learnt is that I am supported by a passionate and talented team and for that I am truly thankful.