Beekeeping family stung by new laws 

A north Queensland hobbyist beekeeper says he is outraged after being forced to get rid of his four hives, following pressure from local government.

“We will have no pollinators left in Mackay,” he said. 
Finch Hatton resident Barry Parkins has been breeding native and honeybees on his hinterland property for two years.
But after the Mackay Regional Council came out to his property to investigate two complaints, Mr Parkins said he is being forced to rezone his land in order to keep the beehives in his backyard.
“Under Rural Use Clause 8.2.2, the keeping of any insect of any sort is not allowed — it’s basically against the council laws, [and] this also includes your native bees as well,” Mr Parkins said.
“It’s quite a ridiculous situation they’re setting up — with the wording, even a child with an ant farm can now also be prosecuted by council,” he said.

And Mr Parkins said rezoning his property was far too expensive.
“The costs can range anywhere from $1600 to $24,000 — honestly, for the average bee person, where do we get the money for that?”
“We will have no pollinators left in Mackay,” he said.


PHOTO Mr Parkins says his three children are devastated by the thought of getting rid of their beehives.

Laws ensure safety, council says

In a statement, the Mackay Regional Council said the rezoning process was used to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of the community.
“The keeping of bees is defined as Animal Husbandry under the Mirani Planning Scheme,” wrote Community and Client Services director Bridget Mather.
“If the current zoning of a beekeeper is residential, they would be required to submit a development application for a Material Change of Use to seek approval to conduct a bee keeping operation.”
“This is required for keeping even a single hive.”


PHOTO The Parkins family have been breeding native and honey bees for two years.

‘No reason to rezone land’

Executive Director of the Australian Honeybee Council Trevor Weatherhead described the situation as overkill.
Despite the Queensland Government’s recommendation for the number of hives that can be kept on an allotment, Mackay Regional Council legislation is forcing beekeepers to rezone their property. 

PHOTO Despite the Queensland Government’s recommendation for the number of hives that can be kept on an allotment, Mackay Regional Council legislation is forcing beekeepers to rezone their property.

“I can fully understand if it was a commercial operation, but in the case where there’s only a couples of hives and it’s only a hobby, then there’s no reason that I can see for having to rezone land,” he said.
“As long you keep them in regards to the recommendation in the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, then there should be no reason to have to rezone land.”
Mr Weatherhead said he was unaware of any other Australian local government to impose these laws.
And he said many local councils had made plans to encourage beekeepers to breed native bees, as they understood the important role they played in our ecosystem.
“With our honeybees, they are required for pollination, so if it’s in an urban area they’re probably doing a lot of backyard pollination in the gardens of the people around the hive.”

“If the bees are being forced to be removed out because the council want to impose some ridiculous fees on them and make them rezone, then the neighbours will suffer because they won’t get their fruit and veggies pollinated.”

PHOTO One of Barry Parkins’ four beehives.


Family devastated

Mr Parkins said by removing beehives, council was overlooking the valuable role bees place in food production.
“What a lot of people don’t realise is that bees themselves are dying out, and without the bees there’s literally going to be no food for us.”
He said aside from the environment impact, the law is having an impact on the emotional health of his family.
“I gave my son a beehive for his birthday, and now I’ve got to tell him that we’ve got no choice but to get rid of it,” he said.
“The impact that’s it having on our family and our hobby is basically to the point where, ‘well do I just get rid of them and forget about it, or do I keep fighting?’ — it’s becoming quite distressing.”

Barry Parkins holding his beehive. 

PHOTO Finch Hatton resident Barry Parkins says he is outraged by local government laws which will require him to rezone his property if he wants to keep his beehives.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Ron Chappell says:

    Councils are well known for their utter stupidity!!!!!!!!!!!


  2. Patty says:

    Absolutely stupid, beyond belief and totally disgraceful!!…Start lots of petitions against this money hungry Council and this stupidity!!


  3. Arthur Rowsell says:

    Seems that this council have not thought the Beekeeping through and realised how important it is for nature.
    Money grabbing?
    Stupidity – Definetly.


  4. Here’s hoping the council and the mayor are first to suffer


  5. Bob Longmore says:

    Organise a community group to attend the next local Council meeting and ask to make a presentation from the public gallery. Ask the appropriate questions and seek answers. Good luck!


  6. Paul says:

    Well the new “Herding” plan is starting to work….. People cant keep bees now as this will stop people buying honey from a shop. You back yard gardeners better watch out they’ll ban you growing anything so you will have to go and be “herded” to the shops to buy them.
    You can see what they have done to the amateur fishermen, yep slash their catch, this one is funny, they slash the crab quota for amateurs, then up the tonnage for the crab boats…
    Eventually any free market in the country will be shutdown and you’ll be “herded” back to the shops like a funnel.


  7. Shay Holmes says:

    Bees are essential to our health. Without them thee will be no pollination . Then we will be forced to import contaminated food and let our farmers die out.


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