25 July, 2022
Compensation fund includes recreational beekeepers
By Sharon Bonthuys
The important role that recreational and hobbyist
beekeepers play in the multi-million dollar honey bee
industry, which includes preventing the spread of the
varroa mite, has been recognised by their inclusion in
state and federal compensation arrangements
announced last week.
On July 9, an $18 million industry support package
was announced that will see registered commercial beekeepers
reimbursed for all equipment, hives and bees
that are destroyed in the eradication process, as well as
the costs of honey.
Composed of commonwealth and state governments,
pollination dependent industries and the honey
bee industry, the national management group (NMG)
for emergency plant pests endorsed a national response
plan to eradicate the varroa mite from NSW.
The NMG also endorsed compensation for licensed
recreational beekeepers in recognition of their critical
role in the response to this incursion.
This is welcome news to the Amateur Beekeepers
Association (ABA), which provides information and
support to 33 clubs throughout NSW and beyond,
including almost 5000 amateur beekeepers. Orana
Beekeepers is one of these member clubs.
“We’re heartened to see the minister, the DPI, commercial apiarists and the honey bee industry council all recognise that recreational beekeepers play a critical part in making this eradication effort a success,” said ABA vice-president, Sue Carney.
Federal minister for agriculture, fisheries and
forestry, Murray Watt said of the NMG agreement, “we
are firmly committed to the national response plan.
Varroa mite is the most significant threat to our honey
bee and pollination industries and we unanimously
agree that it is both technically feasible and economically
beneficial to remove it from our shores.”
NSW agriculture minister Dugald Saunders said
eradication is the primary goal, and the NSW DPIs’
strong initial response measures and contact tracing
work have made this possible.
“We still have an unbroken chain of infected premises
and have extensive surveillance operations in place to
find and destroy any further cases,” minister Saunders
“I want to thank the entire beekeeping community
for their commitment and vigilance during this time.
“This significant funding shows the critical role all
beekeepers have played, including hobbyists, in helping
us to manage and contain the spread of this parasite.
The individual costs of reimbursement will vary and figures
will be assessed on a case-by-case basis because no
two hives are the same and may contain a different
amount of honey or be made of varying materials,” minister
Ms Carney said her association’s members were
anxious but hopeful as the response to the varroa biosecurity
“Recreational beekeepers are understandably anxious
about how this is all going to play out, but they are
really keen to do whatever they can to help.
“Dozens of our members from all over have already
volunteered on the emergency response teams, checking
hives in the zones nearest known varroa sites.
“Dozens more have put their names down to volunteer.”