A month ago, twenty-two fire ant nests were found near Dunwich on iconic North Stradbroke Island. They are not the only ones. Fire ants have also been found in the Redlands' bayside area: the launching point for ferries over to the island. Redlands’ rich red soil produces a variety of crops that are sent to other parts of the country, including Melbourne. Agriculture Victoria has, again, up-dated its entry requirements for potted plants coming from Queensland. Fire ants continue to spread in unregulated truck and tailer loads of fire ant friendly materials. Time to hold Biosecurity Queensland and the National Fire Ant Eradication Program Steering Committee to account. 5th March 2023
In 2019 the independent auditor of the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program said controlling the spread of fire ants, either by natural spread or human-assisted movement, is a central element of any eradication program. He said the Queensland Biosecurity Act 2014 provides for regulations to control the movement of fire ant carriers and penalty infringement notices for non-compliance. He said Biosecurity Queensland needed to implement regulations to control the human-assisted spread of fire ants. Biosecurity Queensland did not.
A report by CSIRO in December 2020 was scathing of Biosecurity Queensland’s failure to mitigate the risk of human assisted spread of fire ants. Consequently, in May 2021, both New South Wales and Victoria updated their entry requirements for potted plants from Queensland.
Fire ants continue to spread in unregulated truck and trailer loads of fire ant friendly materials. Time to hold Biosecurity Queensland and the National Fire Ant Eradication Program Steering Committee to account.