As of 31st May 2019, Biosecurity Queensland has a backlog of 8764 untreated fire ant nests across Brisbane, Gold Coast, Ipswich, Logan, Redlands cities and the Scenic Rim region. Biosecurity Queensland asks the public to check their properties and to report suspicious ants or nests. And they do! 80% of fire ant nests have been found by the public. But fire ants continue to spread out of control, because Biosecurity Queensland makes it difficult for the public to report suspicious nests and then takes months to respond to those reports. Fire ants are spreading out of control and putting the safety of the public at risk because of Biosecurity Queensland’s incompetence. Time for a Royal Commission. 13 June 2019
Biosecurity Queensland relies on the public to report suspicious ants and nests in the 500,000ha of south-east Queensland that is now infested with fire ants. Up from 30,000ha in 2001, fire ants now infest Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan, Gold Coast, Redlands cities and the Scenic Rim, Somerset, Lockyer Valley, Moreton Bay and Sunshine Coast regional areas.
Biosecurity Queensland tells the public:
“Alert! Have you seen Fire ant? Be on the lookout for Fire ant and report them to Biosecurity Queensland. Early detection and reporting are the key elements in eradicating Fire ant.”
And they have. 80% of new fire ant infestations have been found by the public. Now, as of 31st May 2019, Biosecurity Queensland is swamped with a backlog of 8764 untreated fire ant nests, up from 3039 on the 18th April 2019.
It’s likely there are more unreported fire ant nests because Biosecurity Queensland makes it very difficult for the public to report a suspicious nest. Members of the public say ‘The link is a pain in the arse. I still cannot upload any pictures. If the government can’t make an app that is easy to report this stuff then the public, like me, are just not going to bother.’
It’s likely there are more unreported fire ant nests because Biosecurity Queensland is now telling the public:
“We are currently experiencing a high volume of reports of suspect fire ants and ask for your patience.
The current estimated time for progressing fire ant reports is within 21 days. Reported fire ants in public areas, such as schools, childcare centres, parks and sporting fields will take priority. “
Biosecurity Queensland’s weasel words do not mean it will treat a fire ant nest within 21 days. It takes Biosecurity Queensland around three weeks to collect a sample of a suspicious ant from a property and then another month to get back to treating the nest, if it is a fire ant nest. There can be a delay of months between when a member of the public reports a suspicious nest and when Biosecurity Queensland treats it. In the meantime, fire ants are free to spread.
It is likely there are more unreported fire ant nests because property owners are disgusted when field teams leave their property after inspecting only a fraction of it because the team is put on a strict time limit for inspecting a property.
Fire ants are out of control because of Biosecurity Queensland’s incompetence. It is time for a Royal Commission.