Registered commercial beekeepers impacted by Varroa mite in the surveillance (purple) zones are now eligible for reimbursement payments under the agreed National Response Plan.
Minister for Agriculture Dugald Saunders said the NSW Government recognises that despite not needing to have hives euthanised like those in the eradication (red) zones, beekeepers in surveillance zones have also been adversely financially impacted by the Varroa mite response.
“When we first saw an incursion of the Varroa mite in NSW, we immediately initiated a hive stand still for beekeepers in the eradication and surveillance zones,” Mr Saunders said.
“This means that commercial beekeepers have been unable to move their hives to other parts of the state to take part in pollination activities, which has greatly impacted the business operations of many.
“The NSW Government has worked closely with the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council to develop a framework for reimbursement that has been endorsed by all governments and industry parties.
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“We understand that the payments will not cover the full costs incurred, but will give commercial beekeepers options.”
Australian Honey Bee Industry Council CEO Danny Le Feuvre said his group has been working hard with the NSW Government and other key stakeholders to ensure the reimbursement for purple zone commercial beekeepers.
“This shows how progress in the response can start to allow more options for commercial beekeepers,” Mr Le Feuvre said.
The limited Owner Reimbursement Costs offers eligible registered commercial beekeepers two options:
- Commercial beekeepers can choose to euthanise their existing hives and receive reimbursement of $290 per standard hive to re-establish new hives outside of the purple zones; or,
- They can choose to not euthanise their hives and instead receive a one-off loss-of-income reimbursement of $117 per standard hive.
These reimbursements are one-off payments. Commercial registered beekeepers in the surveillance zone will be contacted directly with more information on how to apply.
Eligible applicants must be a registered commercial beekeeper with the DPI, have been impacted as a direct result of the Varroa mite emergency response and meet other criteria as outlined in the program guidelines.
The reimbursement package comes at the same time as the relaxing of some restrictions in NSW, with a change to the movement options for recreational beekeepers in the blue zone.
“Blue zone recreational beekeepers can now move hives and bees in that low-risk area of NSW in line with commercial beekeepers in the same zone, which will enable people to set up hives, or move locations,” Mr Saunders said.