Extract from Hansard – Thursday, 23 August 2018
HON DIANE EVERS (South West) [5.32 pm]: I rise tonight to speak about honey. I asked a question earlier today about honey because I had had a call from a constituent about the growing honey industry—I believe it is up to a $15 billion industry across Australia, so we should not ignore it, but support it.
The bees that make honey for us are also very important to our food supply, given that about 70 per cent of our foods are pollinated by bees. What the answer I received today raises for me is the difficulties we face with how our departments are set up and basically operate in silos; they work on their own area and they keep to that.
Sometimes we even have different ministers for departments that actually have a lot of crossover. There is an issue with beekeepers getting access to forests in order to release their bees to collect nectar and produce honey. Jarrah honey currently has a wholesale rate of about $30,000 a tonne, and retails at up to $100 a kilogram.
We should support this industry and do as much as possible for it. I now find myself in the position where I need to talk to both the Forest Products Commission, that is the Minister for Forestry, and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, that is the Minister for Environment, to make sure that they are talking to each other so that the beekeepers of Western Australia are being listened to, communicated with and catered for so that their bees can collect nectar from these trees.
This is not the last time members will hear me talking about our departments working in silos. Although I hear that we are trying to address that, and I think I have seen some action to work together to address some of the issues that cross portfolios or departments, I will need to keep talking about it to make sure that we keep trying to make it better every day that we continue in here.