Voluntary Contributors to AHBIC
AHBIC wishes to thank all those who contribute to the support
of the organisation. It would be prudent, when purchasing queen
bees or selling honey, to consider supporting those who support
the industry and conduct price comparisons on that basis. A
list of all current contributors appears below.
Australian Bee Exporters
Australian Rain Forest Honey
Australian Honey Bee Improvement Programme
Capilano Honey Limited
Coopers Fine Foods
HL & HM Hoskinson
Hunter Valley Apiaries
IJ & PA Oakley
Jackel & Son
R & E McDonald
RC & DJ Phillips Pty Ltd
T & M Weatherhead
Windsor Farm Foods Pty Limited
The AHBIC Conference and Annual General Meeting will be
held at the Park Regis Hotel, Southport, Queensland on 10th
and 11th July, 2000. Delegates will need to make their
own arrangements for accommodation by calling 1800 644 851.
A group booking has been made and it should be mentioned when
booking that the accommodation will be for attendance at the
Australian Honey Bee Industry Council Conference.
There will be a de-briefing concerning the recent Asian
bee incursions on Sunday 9th July
The Conference this year will be hosted by Queensland Beekeepers
Association (QBA) whose Annual Conference will be held on 6th
- 8th July 2000 at Southport RSL. Anyone interested in
attending this Conference, please make contact with Bob Johnson
(Ph: 07 5445 7512 Fax: 07 5478 6880) for further details.
The industry video is now available for sale at a cost of $25.00
(plus GST after 30th June). Please contact the AHBIC office
to order your copy.
Honeybee Research & Development Committee (HBRDC)
Recently the AHBIC Executive reviewed the applicants for the
HBRDC and nominated three names for the new term from 1 July
2000 to 30 June 2003. These nominations were duly accepted
and the new Committee is as follows:
Chairperson PO Box 5
Mr Keith McIlvride THIRLMERE NSW 2572
Ph: 02 4681 8556
Fax: 02 4683 1325
Mrs Rosemary Doherty Yalbark Apiaries
PO Box 307
Ph: 02 6372 1733
Fax: 02 6372 1733
Mr Michael Moncur 19 Sherwin Place
MELBA ACT 2615
Ph: 02 6258 3388
Mr Des Cannon Bilga Honey Supplies
79 Naylor Road
URILA via QUEANBEYAN NSW
Research Manager Rural Industries R & D Corporation
Dr Jeff Davis PO Box 4776
Ph: 02 6272 4152
Fax: 02 6272 5877
AHBIC thanks all those who applied for a position on the Committee
and we wish the new Committee well for the coming term.
AHBIC to Provide Submission on Fire Blight
The Australian Quarantine Inspection Service (AQIS) will shortly
release a Draft Report Risk Assessment followed by a 60 day
period of public comment in respect of an application from New
Zealand to export apples into Australia.
AQIS will then make its judgement followed by a 30 day appeal
period before the final decision is made.
The danger of Fire Blight entering Australia and being spread
by the honeybee industry is particularly relevant to Australian
industry as the spoors of the Fire Blight are very similar to
pollen and are easily spread by bees in the pollination process.
Industry is particularly keen to support the Australian apple
and pear industry in urging that Australia does not take the
risk in potentially importing this disease from New Zealand.
Members of industry should be aware that if they wish to obtain
information on this, or any other subject dealing with quarantine,
they may register as a stakeholder with the Import Risk Analysis
Secretariat, Plant Quarantine Policy Branch, Australian Quarantine
and Inspection Service, GPO Box 858, Canberra ACT
2601, telephone (02) 6272 5094, fax (02) 6272 3307, email email@example.com.
AHBIC’s submission will be made available to industry once
it has been completed.
Genetic Material Labelling to be Reviewed
The issue of genetic material (GM) labelling continues to be
controversial with the decision by Australian New Zealand Health
Minister expected by the end of July, 2000.
In the face of persistent lobbying by industry, it is understood
that the Prime Minister has written to state, territory and
New Zealand governments recommending they exempt GM labelling
in foods where GM ingredients comprise less than 1% concentration
and in certain other instances including food prepared at point
Democratic Changes to Increase Wealth?
As the bulk of honey is consumed by persons under 30 years
of age, the following forecasts of population growth have important
ramifications for the honey industry.
The Australian population is forecast to increase by 23% between
1996 and 2021 but the wealthier groups by more than that:
The number aged 55 and over (who are at the peak of their career,
or whose children have left home, or who have received a lump
sum on retirement or have sold the family home) will increase
by over 80%.
The number of couple families without children (who are either
young and both working or whose children have left the family
home) will increase by 60%.
While the number of persons aged 24 to 35 will only increase
by 4.5%, the number of that age who are married with no children
(probably both working) will increase by 22%.
Retirees make up 15% of the population but own 28% of total
private wealth. Their numbers are increasing more rapidly
than the total population numbers, and the superannuation guarantee
levy will increase their asset holdings.
The baby boom cohort (those 40 to 55) make up 21% of the population
but own 37% of total private assets. The wealthiest 20%
of these own 50% of the assets of the cohort.
Forecast Population growth (%) between 1998 and the years shown:
ABS middle assumption projections (Series 11) show no growth
in the 0-19 age group in the next 40 years, negligible
growth in the 20-44 group, average growth (i.e. similar to the
total population) in the 45-54 group, and rapid growth in the
numbers 55 and over.
The total population has grown by an average 1.9%pa over the
past 20 years, by 1.6% in 1998/99 and growth is expected to
fall steadily to 0.4%pa by 2015/16.
Population growth between 1998 and 2016 is estimated to be
3 million (or 16%) with 94% of the extra 3 million being 45
Many of the elderly are in good health. For both males
and females, a higher proportion of people 75 and over never
visit a doctor in a year than those under 75.
Position Paper on AHBIC
In accordance with Articles 23.1 and 23.2 of the Constitution,
it was agreed when AHBIC was established that a review would
be conducted after two years of operation. The relevant
sections of the Constitution consist of:-
23. Review Process
- 23.1 Within ninety days following the second Annual Report
of AHBIC Executive Committee a comprehensive review and assessment
of the AHBIC structure and operating performance shall be
undertaken to determine and recommend to member bodies changes
required to improve performance.
- 23.2 A committee of four members of AHBIC, one from each
member body and one or more independent persons with corporate
experience shall be appointed to undertake the review.
In recognition of the above sections, Ms Carolyn Tanner of the
University of Sydney has been appointed to undertake the AHBIC
Review. Ms Tanner is Senior Lecturer in Agricultural Economics
at the University of Sydney and has previously conducted both
industry and government reviews, one of the better known being
her participation in the Committee which reviewed the Australian
Quarantine and Inspection Service.
Following discussion with industry, the following Terms of
Reference have been agreed upon with Ms Tanner.
1 To review AHBIC’s:
(a) Corporate structure and management;
(b) Relationship with member bodies;
(c) Relationship with Federal and State Departments and instrumentalities;
(d) Voluntary funding base.
If necessary, develop proposed amendments to AHBIC’s
2 To determine industry members’ views on:
(a) AHBIC’s membership of the Australian Animal Health Council
and the Australian Plant Health Council (including the need
for a statutory AAHC levy);
(b) AHBIC’s promotional strategy;
(c) AHBIC’s communication strategy for both sector and non-sector
(d) AHBIC’s educational strategy.
Following discussions with Ms Tanner a discussion paper and
questionnaire will be shortly released to wider industry for
input and comment. AHBIC would encourage all members of
industry to obtain a copy of this questionnaire and provide
comment in respect of your peak body.
Quality Assurance System
Following ongoing discussions between NSW Agriculture and the
Executive Committee of AHBIC, the Annual General Meeting on
July 10 and 11 will be asked to ratify the standards for the
quality assurance programme for industry.
Under the NSW Agriculture proposal for Stage 1, the following
programme is expected to begin:-
In addition, following discussions with the AHBIC Executive, the
QA programme is also to be expanded to formulate organic honey
- Standards to be developed from existing Codes of Practice
into QA format
- Primary response will be to food safety issues but will
also include sections on AFB/EFB control, and standards for
crop pollination and queen bee breeders
- NSW Agriculture presentation of standards to industry to
be conducted by one person with QA skills and one with apiary
skills. This will ensure credibility in both areas.
- NSW Agriculture propose a meeting with key industry and
government personnel to gain acceptance of standards and a
national approach to the overall project.
- All states and sectors of industry need to be comfortable
that all standards are attainable and practical.
Following representations by AHBIC in Canberra, industry will
shortly be making applications for training in the QA system
under the Federal Government’s FarmBis Programme. During
the next twelve months we hope to see a wide acceptance by industry
of quality assurance.
Goods and Services Tax (GST)
Beekeepers and members of industry are again reminded that
1st July 2000 sees the commencement of not only the Goods and
Services Tax (GST) but also the introduction of a large number
of changes to the existing taxation system.
This is a new tax system and, despite AHBIC and other people’s
attempts to provide explanations, it really is necessary for
individuals to discuss with their accountant/tax advisor and/or
other advisors, the way in which the new system will affect
their individual enterprise.
AHBIC would urge all members of industry not to simply ignore
the new system but to quickly come to grips with how these changes
will affect your individual business.
New Office Bearers
As members of industry will know, most State associations have
now completed their Annual General Meetings and many new office
bearers for the coming year are now in place. AHBIC thanks
those who are retiring from the positions as elected office
bearers and we thank them for their contributions to the industry
to date. AHBIC hopes that these dedicated individuals
will continue to participate in the industry. Our very best
wishes go to the incoming members for the new term.
As new office bearers are notified to the AHBIC office we will
send a comprehensive listing of the new committees to all member
Genetic Manipulation Advisory Committee (GMAC)
AHBIC, and no doubt a number of members of industry, has seen
recent press articles relating to a study by a German zoologist
reporting that genes from canola can transfer to bacterium yeast
in the gut of honey bees. This article has been published
despite the fact that the findings have not yet been published
in any scientific journal.
Regardless of this, AHBIC referred the press clippings to the
GMAC for their response. We are please to report that
GMAC has indicated that the report has been drawn to the attention
of the members of the scientific and release sub-committees
of GMAC for consideration at their next meeting.
Following these meetings, and once the particular research
has been finally released, the findings on this matter will
be reported to wider industry.
Honey as Medicine
Scientific evidence suggests that honey may be used in the
future as a natural anti-bacterial agent in the treatment of
University of Sydney microbiologist Shona Blair discovered honey’s
medicinal qualities while doing research under a Rural Industry
Research and Development Corporation grant.
“I’ve tested one particular honey,” Blair says, “called jelly
bush, from one species of leptospermum, and especially from
north-eastern NSW, against golden staph (Staphlococcus aureus),
a particularly hardy organism and a big problem in hospitals
as it is developing multiple resistance (to a range of drugs).
“Bacteria can’t grow on pure undiluted honey because of its
high sugar content (which is why a jar of honey left forgotten
in a cupboard won’t go off). But it’s not just the sugars
that are responsible for the antibacterial activity I’ve observed.
A very dilute sample of jelly bush (less than 10 per cent honey)
will kill golden staph. If I test with artificial honey,
much higher concentrations (above 25 per cent) are needed to
inhibit the bugs. The work is still in progress, but the
way it appears now. This particular honey is a good anti-bacterial
Source: Sydney Morning Herald, Good Living, June 20-26
CROP, STOCK AND COMMITTEE
Crop Report - South Australia
Strategies are being developed to assist industry in the event
of the expected serious locust plague in spring, possibly the
worst in recorded history.
South East - Banksia is yielding in very small patches;
the majority of the banksia not yielding at all, possibly because
the nectar is too thin. Pollen is scarce. Some beekeepers
are supplementary feeding in readiness for almond pollination.
West Coast - Upper: Euc.diversifolia yielding quite well
during the warmer days. More rain is needed to ensure
West Coast - Lower: Good rains through most of the area,
resulting Euc.diversifoloa producing copious amounts of nectar
Riverland - A light budding is left on the white mallee, ground
flora well advanced but needs rain. The onion weed is
affected with a virus.
Central - Any bees left in the area are hibernating.
It is anticipated that there will be an increase in pollination
Northern - Lower: White mallee is patchy and proved disappointing.
Bees settled for winter. Euc.diversifolia starting to
break. Good rains augur well for spring prospects but
follow up rains are necessary.
Northern - Upper: Bees are hibernating and in winter
mode. Some bees from this are on Euc.diversifolia on the
Crop Report - New South Wales
Very little change in prospects for next season with some yellow
box in the central west and the south west budding in patches.
Stringy bark is well budded in both the central and south west.
Napungah is not well budded and, in most cases, what is budded
is very late
Stock Report - New South Wales
No honey, or very little, is being held by beekeepers in the
north of the state with some in the south holding small amounts.
World Honey Scene
International Bulk Honey - The southern hemisphere crops have
now all finished. Generally crops were average or slightly less
than in the previous year. Expectations in the Northern hemisphere
are for varying results for the current crop.
International prices on bulk honey are being pressured downwards
due to the currency changes in Europe and low demand for this
time of the year. The forward forecast is that prices will remain
soft in the short term. Most international exporters report
a desire to see prices strengthen on bulk honey.
Retail Packaged Honey - In general terms there is a continuation
of new packers appearing in overseas markets as they try to
obtain a better return for the product than putting it
in a bulk drum. The usual reaction is to offer low prices to
gain a market entry which disrupts established competition and
fractures the already weak market. Real value adding of product
is not taking place in the main and a lot of "copy" products
proliferate world markets.
The polarisation of large supermarket groups around the world
are also causing packers to be played off against one and another
particularly in markets where any honey sales volume is higher
than in Australia. Dramatic price differences are common between
some countries and other Australian packers. It becomes increasingly
difficult for smaller players to survive in the longer term.
Crop Report - Tasmania
A very successful annual meeting was held at Ulverstone.
Stephen Ware, Executive Director, presented the AHBIC Report
and Bruce White, Rosemary and Erwin Doherty were our other mainland
Until the week beginning June 19th, the weather has remained
very dry. Rain is now falling and it feels like the beginning
of winter. Some hives are light and will need early feed
particularly those which gathered a little white top at the
finish. Many hives are being returned from the west coast
to spring/summer locations. Good warm weather to date
is prompting signs of early flowering.
Most of Tasmanian honey is now in the hands of packers and
very little was sold in bulk overseas. Beeswax was also
cleared to overseas buyers.
Local sales picked up in May and early June but the prospect
of GST, even though honey does not attract it, seems to be slowing
sales this month.
Specialised prepaks continue to sell well overseas but Lebanon
still presents a problem and AHBIC assistance in this matter
Crop Report - Queensland
As far as crops go, the continuing cold weather has brought
honey production in Queensland to a standstill. Honey
producers working in the Channel Country report that bees have
gone back in strength due to cold and frosty conditions.
Yapunyah is not yielding any honey. The remainder of the
state is not experiencing any honey flows at the moment.
Colony strength remains a priority with most honey producers.
Very little honey is being held by Queensland beekeepers.
Prospects are too early to call at this time for production