Dr Craik, Chair of the Steering Committee of National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program told the Brisbane Times on 16th October 2019, that the National Biosecurity Management Consultative Committee had declared the Port of Brisbane and the Brisbane Airport free of fire ants after two rounds of surveillance.
As Chair of the Steering Committee, Dr Craik is responsible for the operations of the program, for the program’s budget of $411.4m and for reporting to the National Biosecurity Management Consultative Committee.
Dr Craik told the Brisbane Times, and presumably the National Biosecurity Management Consultative Committee, the fact the program had eradicated five incursions of fire ants, including those at the Port of Brisbane and the Brisbane Airport, since 2016, was a sign the program’s strategy is working.
Dr Craik is in no position to make such a claim because she knows the program has never had a functioning information system and has never collected reliable and consistent performance data to support any claims of success.
In December 2018, an independent risk assessment of the program found the program’s lack of a functioning information system and the lack of timely and accurate performance data was an extreme risk to the success of the program.
In 2017, the Queensland Audit Office said the program cannot always demonstrate it has achieved its aims because the program does not capture reliable and consistent performance data.
In 2015 the Queensland Biosecurity Capability Review said the program lacked an effective performance management system with high quality performance information.
A review of the program’s information system in 2012 said its ability to provide basic functions was questionable.
The 2009 independent scientific review of the program said the program lacked a consistent and coherent information base.
In 2005, program auditors were concerned the program did not have a functioning information system.
The 2004 independent scientific review repeated what the 2002 review had said: the program does not know what areas have not been treated, what areas have been treated and with what because the program did not have a functioning information system.
Dr Craik knows the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program has never collected reliable and consistent data to support any claims of success. Her claims the program is ‘heavily science-based’ and has eradicated five incursions of fire ants are just not credible.
Time for a Royal Commission.
17th October 2019.