Kangaroo Island Ligurian Bees

07 Mar 2013 questionsarchive

I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation questions regarding Kangaroo Island Ligurian bees.

An honourable member: They're beautiful.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: Not edible, though, I understand. South Australia is especially known for its Ligurian bees located on Kangaroo Island, which were introduced in 1884. The government has proclaimed Kangaroo Island a Ligurian bee sanctuary; they are well known for their ability to fertilise a number of plants.

My office was contacted recently about the killing of Ligurian bees in national parks. I have been informed that this work was contracted by the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources after a staff member was stung and therefore it is apparently being done for occupational health and safety reasons.

This constituent, in concern, contacted another government agency, which has verbally confirmed their concerns, but it has stated that it is unable to take any action as it is an interdepartmental issue. My questions are:

1.Will the minister confirm that Ligurian bees have been baited and poisoned by his department and, if so, why were the bees not being trapped and relocated?

2.What is the effect on other native species?

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation) (14:29): I thank the honourable member for her most important questions about Ligurian bees. If I can find out who it was in the chamber who suggested some unholy practices being visited upon those bees, I will have words with them. You would not want to waste chocolate like that.

I think that the honourable member, in her question where she referred to bees fertilising a number of plants, really meant 'pollinating'; it is an easy mistake to make. I will take the question on notice, and I will bring back a response on her behalf.