Tasmanian beekeepers will receive a boost after a difficult honey season with the state government on Sunday announcing a range of actions to help restore confidence in the multi-million dollar sector and provide better access to resources.
The assistance comes with the release of the Bee Industry Futures report and in the wake of what the Tasmanian Beekeepers Association has described as a "disastrous" season between the twin challenges of dry weather and bushfires.
Under the measures, beekeepers will receive up to 12 months of fee relief for leases and licences for hive sites on crown land and up to $150,000 to help meet operational costs.
A part-time industry development officer role will be established to help oversee the implementation of actions outlined in the report.
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Funding will also be made available to support research into leatherwood honey for market and trade benefits by the Tasmanian Beekeepers Association, Collaborative Research Corporation and University of Tasmania.
The 2018-19 state budget allocated $750,000 over three years to implement the report, with $500,000 for selected infrastructure upgrades.
Tasmanian Beekeepers Association president Lindsay Burke welcomed the announcement at a time when bees were being called upon "more than ever" to pollinate crops.
Climate change had been largely to blame for the poor season, causing some leatherwood trees to flower for shorter periods and others to not flower at all, Mr Burke said. Many hives were then lost to bushfires.
He added that beekeepers had lost also lost access to the trees around bridges and culverts and would hope to use some of the money allocated to identify new leatherwood access areas.
Primary Industries and Water Minister Guy Barnett said Tasmanian producers had faced challenging times in recent seasons and noted the government had worked closely with stakeholders including the TBA and other pollination-dependent industries on the actions.
"Beekeepers not only produce iconic leatherwood honey, a premium and exclusively Tasmanian product, they also provide bees to pollinate many of our highest value fruit, cereal and vegetable crops," he said. "The Bee Industry Futures report will chart the way forward and support increased resilience in our honey and bee industry."
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