ANOTHER 300 fire ant nests have been found in Springfield Lakes, Ipswich, south-east Queensland. The area has been infested since 2001. Biosecurity Queensland has treated thousands of fire ant nests there, numerous times. They're still there. It is time to hold Biosecurity Queensland to account for failing to stop the spread of fire ants, for putting our lifestyle, environment and economy at risk and for wasting more than $400m of public money. 9th October 2018
The photo shows one of another 300 fire ant nests recently found near the railway station in Springfield Lakes. It’s a very large nest: about 30cm high and 40cm wide. This means it has been there for some time. The nest shows signs of someone having poked it with a stick. This is how Biosecurity Queensland recommends people identify fire ant nests. Poking a nest with a stick will provoke the tell-tale aggressive response of a fire ant colony. It also puts the person with the stick at risk of being swarmed and badly stung.
Springfield Lakes is part of Greater Springfield, a planned community, developed on the eastern edge of the city of Ipswich in south-east Queensland in recent decades. Fire ants were first found there, and in adjacent suburbs in Brisbane’s south-west, in 2001. It is part of the original, largest, most persistent and ever expanding fire ant infestation in south east Queensland.
Springfield Lakes has been on Biosecurity Queensland’s fire ant map as a high-risk area since 2001. Over the past seventeen years Biosecurity Queensland has treated thousands of fire ant nests there, numerous times. They’re still there.
Biosecurity Queensland has spent more than $400m of public money over the past seventeen years chasing fire ants which continue to persist and spread. In 2015, the Biosecurity Capability Review said Biosecurity Queensland does not have the capacity to manage biosecurity risks now or in the future. Nevertheless, Biosecurity Queensland has been given another $411m of public money for a new Ten Year Fire Ant Eradication Program (2017-27). The new plan gives only secondary consideration to persistent and dense infestations in Ipswich, Brisbane, Logan and Gold Coast cities. No wonder another 300 fire ant nests have been found in Springfield Lakes.
It is time to hold Biosecurity Queensland to account for putting our lifestyle, environment and economy at risk by failing to stop the spread of fire ants and for wasting more than $400m of public money.