Minister for Agriculture and Western NSW – Media Release

20 May 2021

The NSW and Commonwealth Governments are helping to future-proof the State’s apiary industry, with an almost $2 million support program to create local jobs, support more queen bees being bred in NSW, open the door to greater medicinal honey opportunities and more.

Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall today announced $1.9 million for industry projects at the NSW Apiarists Association Conference in Tamworth.

Mr Marshall said the funding was a vote of confidence in the State’s apiary industry, which was devastated by the 2019/20 bushfires, with more than 9,800 hives destroyed and another 88,000 significantly impacted due to heat and smoke.

“To ensure industry can recover as quickly as possible, we’re supporting a number of projects designed to boost confidence in the sector, as well as increase the resilience and sustainability of the industry,” Mr Marshall said.

“A key project includes a critical audit of public lands to identify suitable hive locations, providing access to more floral resources that are vital for bee health and honey production across NSW.

“We will also lead the development of a ‘honey library’ to help identify the unique profile of NSW honey to ensure provenance as well as protect the high-quality reputation of the State’s industry.

“The NSW Government will also offer subsidised commercial beekeeper training through Tocal College to give aspiring apiarists the knowledge and skills they need to thrive in the industry, with a focus on honeybee biosecurity and queen bee breeding.”

Further support has been provided through programs jointly funded by the NSW and Federal Government. The Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Stage 1 Sector Development Grants were designed to support six driver industries – forestry, horticulture, apiculture, aquaculture, viticulture and dairy – to retain and create jobs, and support the industries to rebuild, recover and regrow.

Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson welcomed today’s announcement and said the apiary industry was critical to the State’s ecosystem.

“The local region is surrounded by the environment needed to grow pollinator friendly plants helping our bees and industry flourish,” Mr Anderson said.

“We have fantastically talented people and the right infrastructure in the region to support and grow the apiary industry.”

The University of Sydney’s Professor Dee Carter said the program would partner scientists with beekeepers, industry representatives and policy makers to create value-adding opportunities for NSW beekeepers and along the supply chain, secure native floral resources and increase workforce capacity.

“Targeting high impact points across the supply chain, the program will contribute to shaping a sustainable and profitable apiary industry now and in the long term,” Professor Carter said.

“It will retain and create jobs aligned to the apiary industry which in turn will strengthen NSW’s rural and regional communities.”

The support package will deliver six apiary industry support and research programs, coordinated by the University of Sydney.

The six projects include:

  • Audit of NSW government-owned lands for suitability as bee sites
  • Establishing pollinator-friendly plants in rural NSW
  • Upskilling beekeepers – subsidized courses in biosecurity and queen breeding
  • Establishing a ‘Honey Library’ by profiling the unique chemical composition of NSW honey
  • Research project – new honey markets: Honey as a health food to fight gut infections
  • Research project enhancing forest and bee health for high-value medicinal honey: Healthy forests – healthy bees – active honey

For further information visit https://www.nsw.gov.au/blerfund

Media contact: Luke O’Donnell 0427 837 497

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