Beekeeping on parks and reserves
The Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA) is responsible for the administration of apiary sites on public land and the development of public land apiculture (beekeeping) policy. The 2013 Apiculture (beekeeping) on public land policy and Apiculture (beekeeping) on public land standard operating procedure aim to encourage apiculture on public land.
Apiculture or beekeeping under licence or permit has been a longstanding use within many parks and reserves. In view of the role of honeybees in assuring food security and agricultural exports via crop pollination services, the Victorian Government is actively seeking to expand beekeeping activities on public land.
Secretary’s Directive 2014
The Secretary issued a directive on 16 January 2014 that all beekeeping be administered in accordance with the 2013 policy and operating procedure. The directive overrides any existing provision within any current management documents including management plans that is inconsistent with the new policy and procedure. All applications for new bee sites will be considered within parks and reserves even where the number of existing sites is currently at the bee site capacity prescribed in a management plan.
2013 policy and standard operating procedure
The policy and standard operating procedure are available on the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) website at: agriculture.vic.gov.au/agriculture/livestock/honey-bees.
Bee Site Locations
The locations of current licensed and permitted bee sites are available via the DEECA Forest Explorer Geographical Information System. Forest Explorer is available at: https://mapshare.vic.gov.au/MapShareVic/index.html?viewer=MapShareVic.PublicSite&locale=en-AU (zoom to area of interest, click Map Layers, check Forest Activity, check Regulation, and check Apiary)
The policy and standard operating procedure prescribe how applications for new bee sites within parks and reserves managed by Parks Victoria will be administered by DEECA and assessed with Parks Victoria on a case by case basis and according to the standard operating procedure.
Apiculture (beekeeping) on public land policy gives guidance on implications in relation to:
- fire management;
- other users and uses of public land, including recreation and tourism users and uses, and public land neighbours;
- road and access management;
- native vegetation clearance;
- exempting Reference and Wilderness Areas and areas within 0.8 and 1.6 km of their boundaries;
- compliance with the Apiary Code of Practice;
- compliance with land management legislation and regulation;
- compliance with approved recommendations of the VEAC/ECC/LCC.
Apiculture (beekeeping) on public land standard operating procedure:
- requires, amongst other matters that when a beekeeper identifies an opportunity within the current rules to establish a new bee site, that beekeeper may lodge an application with DEECA who will not unreasonably withhold approval and together with the land manager consider the policy guidance.
- enables ballot or expression of interest processes when DEECA/Parks Victoria identify a new bee site or when multiple beekeepers identify similar sites.