Bee Colony Collapse Disorder
Mr IAN COHEN: My question is addressed to the Minister for Primary Industries. Have any apiarists reported to the Department of Primary Industries suspected cases of bee colony collapse disorder? Is anyone in the department responsible for keeping up to date on international research on the colony collapse disorder being carried out in the United States of America and Europe? If the cause of the colony collapse disorder is found to be contamination by the new family of pesticides, the neonicotinoids, what information is being collected about the use of those chemicals in New South Wales? Will the department be able to accurately map the use of neonicotinoids across the landscape?
The Hon. IAN MACDONALD: I have heard of the syndrome referred to by Mr Ian Cohen. It has been a considerable problem in the industry in the United States of America and was reported in the Land over the last couple of weeks. I am not aware of any cases reported in any bee colonies in New South Wales. It would be tragic if the disease did hit our bee colonies.
The Hon. Duncan Gay: It has not. We have an excellent industry.
The Hon. IAN MACDONALD: That is correct. We do have a substantial export industry in New South Wales. It is one of the best and most robust bee industries in the world, and we want that to continue. We are most concerned about this syndrome and we are monitoring the situation.
The Hon. Michael Costa: Is he against the bee industry?
The Hon. IAN MACDONALD: No, Mr Ian Cohen is opposed to pesticides and chemicals and is into organic farming. That is fair enough. If a link to this syndrome was evident, we would be proactive. I will take the honourable member's question on notice, to some degree, and give him a more comprehensive answer to it. At this point I am not aware of any incidents. Yes, we are looking carefully at the issue. We do not want that syndrome in this State; we want to protect our important export industry.