A huge shopping complex in Oxley, in Brisbane’s south-west, home to big name retailers Bunnings, The Good Guys, JB Hi Fi, Supercheap Auto, Macdonalds and others, is heavily infested with fire ants because of Biosecurity Queensland’s token gesture treatment program. Field staff are told to treat nests the public report, but not the dozens of unreported, but obvious nests nearby. Suburbs in Brisbane’s south-west are Ground Zero of the worst fire ant infestation in south east Queensland. The whole area has been treated many times. But the infestation in a huge shopping complex in Oxley in June this year is worse than when fire ants were first detected there in 2001. Time for a Royal Commission into Biosecurity Queensland’s waste of over $500m of public money and incompetence that has made a well-entrenched and dangerous fire ant infestation even worse. 15 July 2019
On 18th June I reported a shopper had been stung by fire ants the previous weekend in the busy car park of Bunning’s in the huge shopping complex located between the Ipswich Motorway, Blunder Road and the Factory Road Loop.
Ground staff told the shopper that Biosecurity Queensland had treated the site some time ago. But on the weekend of 15-16 June, fifteen unmarked active nests were threatening the safety of the public.
In response to my report, Biosecurity Queensland sent another team out to treat the site.
On 3rd July I visited the site with two ex-program field staff who were well trained to identify fire ant nests, to see the results.
The results were shocking. There were unmarked fire ant nests everywhere. The larger ones were easy to see and avoid, but I could not see the smaller ones the ex-field staff pointed out to me. I have never been so worried about where I stepped.
There were fire ant nests in the turfed footpaths in the complex car parks and around the whole complex. There were fire ant nests on a traffic island in Factory Road Loop. And there were fire ant nests on the grassy banks of Little Doris Creek that flows through the eastern side of the site. I watched people walking across those grassy banks to access the shops.
Little Doris Creek feeds into Oxley Creek, one of the Brisbane River’s biggest tributaries. Oxley Creek and all its tributaries flood regularly. Fire ants originated in the flood plains of South America and use flood waters to float to higher ground. Every time Little Doris Creeks floods it spreads fire ants. Biosecurity Queensland has done nothing about that.
Time for a Royal Commission into Biosecurity Queensland’s waste of over $500m of public money and incompetence that has made a well-entrenched and dangerous fire ant infestation even worse.