Fire ants are out of control in south-east Queensland and Biosecurity Queensland is being swamped with thousands of reports of fire ant nests from the public. Even with an annual budget of $42.5m, Biosecurity Queensland can’t cope. Biosecurity Queensland is telling the public to be patient and is dumping the problem and the cost of treating fire ant nests onto property owners or occupiers. In August, Biosecurity Queensland trained local pest control companies to treat fire ant nests. Local companies are now offering to inspect suspect nests for free, at this stage, then give the property owner or occupier a quote for treating it: if they don't want to wait 10-12 weeks for Biosecurity Queensland to treat it for free. Why does the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program continue to exist? The program is training private providers to treat fire ant nest at the public’s expense. The program does not know where fire ants are: the public find 70-80% of new detections. The program used legislation to dump the responsibility for stopping the spread of fire ants onto the public. What does the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program DO with an annual budget of $42.5m? Time for a Royal Commission. 4th September 2019
As fire ant infestations explode across south-east Queensland, the public is swamping Biosecurity Queensland with thousands and thousands of reports of fire ant nests.
And even with an annual budget of $42,435,416 Biosecurity Queensland cannot cope.
Biosecurity Queensland is 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.’ ‘Progressing a fire ant report’ does not mean treating it. It can take Biosecurity Queensland months to actually treat a nest.
Biosecurity Queensland is now training private Pest Management Technicians to treat fire ant nests: at the public’s expense.
On 27th August 2019, Biosecurity Queensland ran a ‘Pest Management Technician and Contractor Training Program’ for local pest control companies to learn how to inject the insecticide fipronil directly into fire ant nests: the controversial practice Biosecurity Queensland introduced into the program seventeen years ago with no evidence it did not cause nests to split and spread. And as of December 2018, still had no evidence.
Local pest control companies are now informing the public that it is extremely dangerous for property owners or occupiers to attempt to treat fire ant nests themselves because they could make the infestation worse or run the significant risk of receiving painful, and potentially, deadly stings.
Local pest control companies now tell the public that, in the past, Biosecurity Queensland carried out all treatment of fire ant nests free of charge: and continue to do so. But Biosecurity Queensland can take up to 10-12 weeks to treat nests a property owner or occupier has reported.
Local pest control companies are now offering to inspect suspect nests free of charge (at this stage) and, if it is a fire ant nest, are offering to give the property owners or occupiers a quote to treat it: if they don’t want to wait months for Biosecurity Queensland to treat it.
Why does the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program continue to exist?
After spending over $500m of public money over eighteen years to eradicate fire ants, and making the infestation twelve times worse, Biosecurity Queensland is now washing its hands of the whole problem and dumping it onto the public.
The National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program cannot treat the fire ant infestation. The program treated only a fraction of the area it was scheduled to treat in the first year of the new $411.4m Ten Year Fire Ant Program 2017-27 and is now dumping some of the costs of treating the infestation onto individual property owners or occupiers.
The National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program STILL does not know the extent of the infestation. Significant fire ant infestations are ALWAYS found beyond the program’s operational areas and the general public detect 70-80% of all new detections.
The National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program dumped its team of inspectors who helped businesses contain the spread of fire ants and that dumped that responsibility onto the general public. The Biosecurity Act of 2014 imposes a legal responsibility onto individuals and organisations whose activities pose a biosecurity risk to take all reasonable steps to ensure they do not spread a pest, disease or contaminant.
What has the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program achieved with $500m of public money over the last eighteen years and what does it DO with an annual budget of $42.5m?
Time for a Royal Commission.