Council - Question on Notice Number 132
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
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.
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.
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.