Hundreds of fire ant nests are thriving along busy Wembley Road – right under the noses of Head Office managers of the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program at Wayne Goss Drive, Berrinbah, Logan City. Berrinbah has been within the program’s operational area since 2001 and is still heavily infested.
Biosecurity Queensland is walking away from the $600m disaster it has created – a well-entrenched and out of control fire ant infestation – and dumping the costs and risks of living with the pest onto the public.
Biosecurity Queensland tells businesses who want to evacuate soil from an area to engage a licensed pest manager to inspect and treat the area before it is evacuated. No mention of Biosecurity Queensland treating anything.
Biosecurity Queensland tells the public to report a fire ant nest, then after twenty years of telling the public NOT to treat fire ant nests themselves are now telling them to do just that, or to engage a licensed pest manager. No mention of Biosecurity Queensland treating anything.
If residents chose to treat a fire ant nest themselves, Biosecurity Queensland tells them to use products approved by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA). Those products are expensive and according to the Pest Management Act 2001, not accessible to residents. The Act only permits residents to use spray packs of pesticides available in supermarkets or grocery stores.
In 2001, fire ant experts from the USA said if the fire ant program did not eradicate the ant, or contain its spread, the only option left for the public was ‘Self management’ – businesses and residents managing the super-pest on their own properties at their own risk and expense.
That seems to be where we are – Biosecurity Queensland is walking away from the $600m disaster it has created – a well-entrenched and out of control fire ant infestation – and dumping the costs and risks of living with the pest onto the public. Time for a Royal Commission.