18th October 2012


Legislative Council - Question on Notice Number 132


Question Number 132                             Member for Rosevears




132 Mr Finch to ask the Honourable the Leader of the Government –


(1) Given the uniqueness and importance of Tasmania’s Leatherwood honey industry, when will the Government fund a replacement for the Pyke’s Bridge in the Arthur River catchment in the North West?


(2) If the Government does not have immediate plans to replace the condemned bridge which gives beekeepers access to 500 hives in Leatherwood forest, how will it compensate those beekeepers for lack of access to the Leatherwood resource?


(3) Will the Government give an undertaking to Tasmania’s Leatherwood honey industry that it will maintain access roads and bridges that are vital to Tasmania’s world-famous Leatherwood honey industry?

(asked 30.08.12)



Answered by:     Hon Craig Farrell MLC, Leader of the Government



·        As is generally known, Forestry Tasmania is currently operating in a challenging environment, strategically and financially.  Consequently, funding for infrastructure maintenance, such as road and bridge repairs, must be strictly prioritised against commercial needs.

·        Quotes to repair Pyke’s Bridge range from $63,000 to $330,000, the latter being the estimate to construct a more robust, long term bridge.  However, Forestry Tasmania has no operational need to access the area on the western side of the bridge in the foreseeable future.

·        The Government has confirmed in writing to the Forestry Tasmania Chair that Forestry Tasmania will be provided with $20 million in 2012-13 to enable it to continue to perform its non-commercial obligations which includes the provision of public access to State Forests.

·        The scheduling of maintenance to Forestry Tasmania’s roading network is a matter for Forestry Tasmania to prioritise.

·        Forestry Tasmania has had ongoing discussions with beekeepers about alternative access arrangement since the bridge was deemed unsafe approximately two years ago.  To date, the options proposed by the Murchison Leatherwood Committee have not been financially viable.


·        Forestry Tasmania recognises these sites are valuable to beekeepers and has sought alternative solutions, including finding suitable new sites for the four beekeepers affected.  Forestry Tasmania also ceased charging site fees when the bridge was condemned.


·        The maintenance of state forest assets, including roads, and the ownership and responsibility for them, will become clearer at the conclusion of the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement and the strategic review of Forestry Tasmania.