Writings: Biosecurity Qld Fire Ant Program Report Card Dec 2020. NO targets met. Treatment behind schedule. Dumping Treatment onto the public. Fire ants spreading. Time for a Royal Commission,

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In July 2017, Biosecurity Queensland secured an additional $411m of national funding for a ten year fire ant eradication program from 2017-27 – on top of its failed $400m fire ant eradication program from 2001-2017. 

The targets for the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program 2017-27 for December 2020 were:

  • Eradication treatment in the Lockyer Valley and Scenic Rim has been completed and the absence of fire ants has been confirmed by remote surveillance technology.
  • Eradication treatment of Ipswich City and western parts of Logan City has been completed
  • Infestations in Brisbane city, the rest of Logan City, Redland City and Gold Coast City have received suppression treatment.
  • Surveillance has been conducted around previously treated areas

According to the program’s report ‘Under the Microscope December 2020’, the program has reach NONE of its targets.

  • Biosecurity Queensland is still treating the Lockyer Valley, Scenic Rim and Somerset regions and western Logan City.
  • Biosecurity Queensland has yet to commence eradication treatment of infestations in Ipswich City and western parts of Logan City.
  • Biosecurity Queensland had not commissioned any remote sensing surveillance to confirm the absence of fire ants.
  • Swamped by thousands of reports from the public of fire ant nests in Brisbane, Redlands and Gold Coast Cities, Biosecurity Queensland is unable to suppress long standing infestations in those areas.
  • Biosecurity Queensland has no plans to survey previous treated areas while it is well behind on its treatment schedule.
  • In 2017, the fire ant infestation covered 400,000ha of south east Queensland. Fire ants now infest over 650,000ha and continue to spread.

Despite receiving $45m of national funding each year to find, treat and contain the spread of fire ants, Biosecurity Queensland is dumping the risks of treating fire ant nests – getting stung or causing nests to split and spread – and the costs – fire ant baits are expensive – onto the public – an admission that the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program is an utter failure. 

Time for a Royal Commission to hold all Queensland Ministers for Agriculture and all oversight committee Chairs since 2001, to account for the waste of $600m of public money, and for a fire ant infestation that has blown out from 40,000ha in 2001 to over 650,000ha and continues to spread, out of control.