Beekeepers have traditionally had access to native plants on public and private land. However, beekeeping can have negative impacts on the natural environment and must be carefully managed.
When Crown land containing licensed beekeeping sites is reserved or added to a park, the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) may permit the beekeeping operations to continue if they are compatible with the park's conservation values and the needs of other park users.
The main honey-producing plants that beekeepers use flower irregularly, with most species flowering once every 2–4 years. NPWS recognises that beekeepers need access to a range of sites to allow for this variability.
- Beekeeping is generally allowed in parks when it is recognised as an existing interest (that is, it was being carried out before the land became a park). Existing beekeeping operations have usually been allowed to continue when a state forest or Crown land has been reserved as a park under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (NPW Act).
- NPWS may permit the introduction of new beekeeping activities in a park only where it will clearly and demonstrably benefit the conservation of nature in the park.
- In general, the use of a park for beekeeping must be consistent with the NPW Act. In particular, it must be consistent with the provisions in the NPW Act for:
- recognising existing interests
- managing parks under plans of management
- conserving natural and cultural heritage
- allowing the public to use and enjoy parks
- ensuring public safety in parks.