Writings: Fire ants found at a sporting facility in Brisbane's south-west. Biosecurity Queensland failing to protect the public and dumping the problem onto the public.

In April 2018, fire ants were found, again, at a sporting facility in Oxley, a suburb 10km south-west of Brisbane’s CBD – threatening the safety of the public. Biosecurity Queensland dumped the problem onto the facility to manage. Biosecurity did not put up any signage to warn the public, was slow to respond, forcing facility management to poison the nests themselves and failed to mitigate the most likely cause of the infestation - fire ants arriving in loads of fire ant carriers like soil or mulch, even though Oxley is in one of Biosecurity Queensland's Fire Ant Movement Restriction zones. Fire ants were first found in Oxley in 2001 and are still there. Even with $400m of public money over seventeen years, Biosecurity Queensland cannot find, kill or stop fire ants from spreading and is now dumping the problem back onto the public. 26th May 2018

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Fire ants were first detected in Brisbane’s south-west in 2001. Even with $400m of public money, Biosecurity Queensland has failed to find and kill fire ants in Oxley: continuing to put the safety of the public at risk of multiple burning stings.

Biosecurity Queensland simply marked the nests at the sporting facility with pink flags, then dumped their problem onto the sporting facility to manage.  Biosecurity Queensland

  • put up no signage to warn people of the risk of fire ants stings,
  • left it to facility management to poison the nests because they are so slow to respond to new detections: putting facility staff at risk of being stung and likely causing the nests to simply move, and
  • even though Oxley is in one of Biosecurity Queensland’s Fire Ant Restricted Movement zone’s, failed to mitigate the likely cause of the new infestation, human-assisted movement: fire ants arriving at the sporting facility in loads of fire ant carriers like soil or mulch.

Biosecurity Queensland has managed the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program over the past seventeen years and spent $400m of public money, but the infestation is now more than ten times worse than in 2001.

Fire ants now infest an area from Redlands on Moreton Bay, through Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan and Gold Coast cities, north to the Sunshine Coast and west into the Scenic Rim, Somerset and Lockyer Valley regions: an area about twice the size of the Australian Capital Territory.

Fire ants continue to spread at a steady rate because Biosecurity Queensland:

  • cannot find fire ants. 70-80% of new detections are made by a vigilant public,
  • cannot kill fire ants: fully treated areas routinely become reinfested and
  • cannot manage the main cause of fire ants spreading: human-assisted movement.