Dr Pam Swepson Writer and Researcher.
Having wasted $400m of public money on a failed fire ant program that has seen the infestation get ten times worse, Biosecurity Queensland is desperate keep the Commonwealth and other State and Territory governments funding the program. Biosecurity Queensland has promise to double its efforts, which are again, too little too late: likely to waste more public money. Biosecurity Queensland plans to: • Treat more of the infestation by air. 16 years after they were told to blanket the infestation with low toxic bait by air, they are now going to treat less than a quarter of it. • revamp the decommissioned aerial surveillance program that found millions of rocks and cow pats and only 38 nests while the infestation tripled. • increase the use of odour detections dogs that are expensive to train and have limited use. • better engage the community who find most of the fire ants and who are sick of waiting months for Biosecurity Queensland to treat them. • Improve the program's Information Technology system. Biosecurity Queensland still does not have a functioning data base to support any claims of success. • Continue to dump the responsibility for containing the spread of fire ants onto the public. 22 September 2017Read More
The fire ant eradication program has been well-funded. The original plan was for five years and to cost $123.4. It has now blown out to a sixteen years and cost $400m: a lot of public money. The fire ant infestation is now ten times worse and Biosecurity Queensland blames a lack of funding. The Biosecurity Capability Review of 2015 and the science review of 2010 blame Biosecurity Queensland’s incompetence. Because fire ants are such a serious problem, the Agriculture Ministers’ Forum agreed in July to fund the program for another ten years at the cost of another $411m. A five year fire ant program to cost $123.4m has now blown out to a 26 year program to cost $800m. The Director-General of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, home of Biosecurity Queensland, recently tweeted, that for the first time, the program was to be genuinely and comprehensively funded to address the fire ant infestation. This is not true. The program has been well-funded from the beginning. But, if the Director-General does not address Biosecurity Queensland’s incompetence and continues to blame funding problems for the ever expanding fire ant infestation, it is likely that the fire ant program budget will blow out even further. 16 September 2017Read More
A vigilant public in south east Queensland is reporting hundreds of fire ant nests and Biosecurity Queensland is taking months to respond. The public is giving up on Biosecurity Queensland and taking matter into their own hands: risking their own safety and likely making the infestation worse. 2nd September 2017Read More