Greens welcome reconsideration of potential to eradicate Asian Honey Bee
The Australian Greens welcomed an agreement by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry to recall the Consultative Committee on Emergency Plant Pests to review the scientific evidence regarding whether or not the Asian honey bee can be eradicated from Australia.
The commitment was made during hearings this afternoon in an inquiry referred by Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne. Concern about the handling of the Asian honey bee incursion at Cairns has been expressed by all political parties and there is widespread disbelief at the decision taken to give up on eradication.
"This commitment to reconsider the decision not to eradicate the Asian honey bee will be welcomed by all those who value Australia's biodiversity, our agriculture and our much-loved honey industry," Senator Milne said.
"It is clear to me that there was no comprehensive scientific analysis of the technical feasibility of eradication at the time the decision was taken.
"It is also clear that several of the states believed that the bee would not spread beyond tropical areas and it is hard to escape the conclusion that state-based bureaucrats had one eye on funding arrangements at the time they made the decision.
"The Asian honey bee could become the cane toad of the insect world.
"The costs to our environment, agriculture and honey industry far outweigh the costs of trying to eradicate this bee now.
"This is Australia's second chance. We must not miss the opportunity to have a serious rethink on this critical issue."