In The Media

13 Aug 2018

Biosecurity Queensland uses dishonest science to claim its baits kill fire ants

In a vain attempt to counter damming criticism in 2010 that Biosecurity Queensland cannot prove its standard baiting program kills fire ants, the program’s science team published a paper in 2014 that claims its standard program kills fire ant nests while having minimal impact on local ants. Dishonestly, the paper DOES NOT say the standard bait...

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06 Aug 2018

Did Biosecurity Queensland miss over 50 large fire ant nests in Lanefield, west of Ipswich, infested for 10 years?

It appears, in June 2018, a large team of field assistants reported a small property in Lanefield to be fire ant free, only for another team to find over fifty large nests on the same property a few days later. If so, is this evidence that Biosecurity Queensland’s operations are haphazard or evidence that Biosecurity Queensland’s reports ar...

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29 Jul 2018

Biosecurity Queensland leaves a fire ant nest in Cleveland, next to a primary school, unmarked: puts public safety at risk

Biosecurity Queensland has not put a warning sign on a fire ant nest in public park in Cleveland, and has not informed the primary school next door of the danger. If Biosecurity Queensland can put a warning sign on fire ant nests in Mowbray Park East Brisbane and puts warning signs in infested construction sites, Biosecurity Queensland MUST put...

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25 Jul 2018

General Manager of Biosecurity Queensland's fire ant program says it's OK to put warning signs on nests on construction sites, but not in public parks

John Jordan, General Manager of Biosecurity Queensland’s National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program told Steve Austin, ABC radio Brisbane: it’s OK to put up warning signs on fire ant nests on construction sites, but not in public parks. (This puts public safety at risk.) That he is ‘not surprised’ that, after seventeen year, f...

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22 Jul 2018

Unmarked fire ant nest in a public park in Rocklea: a suburb inside Biosecurity Queensland's fire ant zone since 2001

Biosecurity Queensland leaves a fire ant nest, unmarked, in public park, in Rocklea in Brisbane’s south-west. More evidence that Biosecurity Queensland is putting public safety at risk. Rocklea has been infested with fire ants since 2001. Seventeen years and $400m of public money later, it STILL is. 22nd July 2018

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15 Jul 2018

Biosecurity Queensland tells the public 'Report fire ants or cop a $97,425 fine.'

The public have reported 70% of the fire ant nests found in south-east Queensland. But public support for the fire ant program is waning because Biosecurity Queensland takes weeks to follow-up and treat nests the public have reported. Biosecurity Queensland is now threatening the public with 6 months’ jail or a $97,425 fine if they don’...

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06 Jul 2018

Biosecurity Queensland removing ID tags from untreated fire ant nests. Covering-up evidence of failure?

Facing a barrage of complaints from the public that Biosecurity Queensland leaves tagged fire ant nests untreated for weeks and weeks, Biosecurity Queensland is now removing ID tags from untreated nests and not tagging newly detected ones. More evidence Biosecurity Queensland is more interested in covering-up its failure than stopping the sprea...

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03 Jul 2018

Biosecurity Queensland needs to tell the public the truth about the fire ant program

What Biosecurity Queensland tells the public about the 100% publicly funded National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program is not fully truthful. The public is entitled to know the truth about how Biosecurity Queensland spends their money. Biosecurity Queensland spent more than $400m from 2001 to 2017 and said it had contained fire ants ...

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13 Jun 2018

Biosecurity Queensland tags a dozen HUGE fire ant nests in Browns Plains

Biosecurity Queensland tags a dozen HUGE fire ant nests in Browns Plains, evidence they have been there a long time, undetected and untreated: near a popular sporting facility but with no signage to warn the public, putting the public at risk: a colossal failure by Biosecurity Queensland. 13th June 2018

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12 Jun 2018

Biosecurity Queensland's Fire Ant Program asks stakeholders for advice. Will they listen this time?

In May 2018, Biosecurity Queensland invited industry and community stakeholders from south-east Queensland to tell them how to better manage the fire ant program and better engage with stakeholders. They said the same thing reviewers have said over the years: that Biosecurity Queensland is too slow to respond to new detections, is not controlli...

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06 Jun 2018

New Fire Ant Program Steering Committee is 100% responsible for spending $411.4m of public money, but Biosecurity Queensland is making 100% of program decisions.

A new Steering Committee is 100% responsible for how Biosecurity Queensland spends another $411.4m of public money on the Fire Ant Program over the next ten years. But already it has approved Biosecurity Queensland’s Ten-Year Eradication Plan that has never been independently validated, performance-data-free progress reports and a top-heavy w...

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27 May 2018

Newly detected fire ant nests are the constantly advancing front of the invasion: not 'outliers', says Biosecurity Queensland's own research.

Biosecurity Queensland commissioned Monash University researchers to evaluate the eradication program. In 2013, they reported the southern and western boundaries of the (fire ant) invasion advanced at a steady rate, advancing towards the Gold Coast, Scenic Rim and Lockyer Valley, and there has always been an infested area outside Biosecurity Queens...

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26 May 2018

Fire ants found at a sporting facility in Brisbane's south-west. Biosecurity Queensland failing to protect the public and dumping the problem onto the public.

In April 2018, fire ants were found, again, at a sporting facility in Oxley, a suburb 10km south-west of Brisbane’s CBD – threatening the safety of the public. Biosecurity Queensland dumped the problem onto the facility to manage. Biosecurity did not put up any signage to warn the public, was slow to respond, forcing facility management to ...

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18 Apr 2018

Biosecurity Queensland not controlling the movement of fire ant carriers out of 27 newly infested suburbs

Biosecurity Queensland has NO restrictions on the movement of fire ant carriers like soil and mulch out of twenty-seven newly infested suburbs. Human assisted movement (people accidentally or carelessly moving fire ants in loads of soil or mulch or potted plants) is the main cause of the persistent spread of fire ants in south-east Queensland. ...

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19 Mar 2018

Why is Biosecurity Queensland’s new ten-year fire ant program plan a secret?

Biosecurity Queensland has been given another $411m of public money to mount a new National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program for another ten years; on condition the program is more transparent and publicly accountable. But all the public gets is a three page summary of the ten year plan that got it the money. Why? Because the plan has ...

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07 Mar 2018

Secrets and lies. Time to open up Biosecurity Queensland's fire ant program to public scrutiny

Biosecurity Queensland is not telling the public the truth about the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program. It says it is eradicating fire ants when the truth is, fire ants are virtually out-of-control. The infestation in south-east Queensland is now ten times worse than when they were first discovered in 2001. The truth is, numerous ...

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16 Feb 2018

Will a new national fire ant oversight committee stop Biosecurity Queensland wasting another $400m of public money?

For sixteen years, the national committee overseeing the National Fire Ant Eradication Program, utterly failed to ensure that Biosecurity Queensland used $400m of public money to the greatest effect against this terrible pest. Instead, it simply allowed the Queensland government, who puts in only 10% of the money to make 100% of the program’...

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22 Jan 2018

Does Biosecurity Queensland’s practice of injecting insecticide into fire ant nests really kill them, or is this labour-intensive practice just another Queensland jobs creation program?

Biosecurity Queensland introduced the practice of injecting insecticide into all newly detected fire ant nests; almost from the beginning and against scientific advice. The fire ant infestation is now ten times worse than it was at the beginning as fire ants continue to spread and re-infest treated areas. Therefore, I commissioned an independent l...

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06 Dec 2017

Director-General Qld Dept Agriculture says Commonwealth money NOT used to eradicate fire ants. Was used for Qld jobs program.

The Director-General of the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Beth Woods, told Steve Austin on ABC Brisbane on Friday 1st December that Biosecurity Queensland has NOT been using the $400m of public funding from the Commonwealth and other States for the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program over the past sixteen years ...

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21 Nov 2017

Blowing the whistle on Biosecurity Queensland’s misleading fire ant program reports: they over-state success and don’t report serious problems. Problems remain.

In March 2003, I complained to the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) that the Department of Primary Industries’ reports on the fire ant program (DPI, now home to Biosecurity Queensland), prepared for the Commonwealth and other States governments that fund the program, over-state the program’s success and do not report serious pro...

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05 Nov 2017

Will new leaders be the new brooms that save Biosecurity Queensland’s fire ant fiasco or will incumbent, incompetent managers continue to run the fire ant program?

For the first time in 17 years, Biosecurity Queensland is recruiting, or being forced to recruit, properly qualified people to run the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program. Will two new leaders be the new brooms that can save Biosecurity Queensland’s fire ant fiasco? Fire ants are out of control and the infestation is now ten ti...

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24 Oct 2017

Biosecurity Queensland can’t prove it is eradicating fire ants and can’t prove it has not wasted $400m of public money

In March 2017 the Queensland Audit Office found, just as multiple reviews of the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program (fire ant program) have found, Biosecurity Queensland cannot ‘always demonstrate it has successfully achieved the ultimate aims’ of its programs because Biosecurity Queensland does not capture adequate, reliable an...

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17 Oct 2017

Biosecurity Queensland’s hit and miss fire ant treatment program for 2017-18 is doomed to fail

Since 2001, Biosecurity Queensland has been repeatedly told the only way to eradicate fire ants is to totally and repeatedly blanket the entire infestation in low toxic bait: and the cheapest, quickest most effective way is by helicopter. For 17 years, Biosecurity Queensland’s treatment program has been expensive, slow, hit and miss and ineffecti...

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10 Oct 2017

Biosecurity Queensland’s bungled fire ant program is alienating the public rather than engaging it in the fight against fire ants.

The public is doing its bit to fight fire ants: detecting 70% of fire ant nests. But bungling Biosecurity Queensland alienates the public because it takes weeks to inspect suspicious nests and then months treat fire ant nests. Annoyed and alienated residents and businesses think ‘If Biosecurity Queensland is not serious about fire ants, why shoul...

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22 Sep 2017

Biosecurity Queensland doubles effort to fight fire ants but problem is ten times worse. Again, too little, too late.

Having wasted $400m of public money on a failed fire ant program that has seen the infestation get ten times worse, Biosecurity Queensland is desperate keep the Commonwealth and other State and Territory governments funding the program. Biosecurity Queensland has promise to double its efforts, which are again, too little too late: likely to waste m...

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16 Sep 2017

Biosecurity Queensland's fire ant program budget blow-out: from $123.4m for 5 years to $800m for 26 years.

The fire ant eradication program has been well-funded. The original plan was for five years and to cost $123.4. It has now blown out to a sixteen years and cost $400m: a lot of public money. The fire ant infestation is now ten times worse and Biosecurity Queensland blames a lack of funding. The Biosecurity Capability Review of 2015 and the science ...

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02 Sep 2017

Hundreds of fire ant nests. Public losing confidence in Biosecurity Queensland

A vigilant public in south east Queensland is reporting hundreds of fire ant nests and Biosecurity Queensland is taking months to respond. The public is giving up on Biosecurity Queensland and taking matter into their own hands: risking their own safety and likely making the infestation worse. 2nd September 2017

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26 Aug 2017

Fire ants now in Deagon: yet another breach of Biosecurity Queensland's Fire Ant Zone Lines

Fire ants are breaching Biosecurity Queensland’s Fire Ant Zone lines at an alarming rate. Fire ants are now in Deagon, Bracken Ridge, Upper Kedron, Camp Mountain, Beerwah and Lowood: all way outside fire ant containment lines because Biosecurity Queensland cannot stop fire ants spreading. 26 August 2017 Update: 28th August 2017 Fire ants fo...

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08 Aug 2017

Fire ants found in another new housing estate: in Lowood, way outside Biosecurity Queensland's fire ant zone

Another new housing estate in south-east Queensland has been found to be infested with fire ants, threatening the safety of residents. Ten fire ant nests were found in a new housing estate in Lowood last week: well into the Somerset Regional Council area and many kilometres from Biosecurity Queensland’s fire ant boundary. Fire ants have also ...

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31 Jul 2017

Will Biosecurity Queensland bluff the new fire ant oversight committee? Likely, without public scrutiny too.

The Australian Agriculture Ministers’ Forum has agreed to extend the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program in south-east Queensland by another ten years at the cost of another $400m: on top of the $400m Biosecurity Queensland has wasted over the past sixteen years with the result the infestation is now ten times worse than when fire ...

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17 Jul 2017

Biosecurity Queensland's Fire Ant Fiasco and Cover-up.

Multiple independent reviews of the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program have said that Biosecurity Queensland’s fire ant treatment does not work, that fire ants are spreading faster than Biosecurity Queensland can find them and have recommended that Biosecurity Queensland implement an aggressive containment program. They haven’t...

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04 Jul 2017

Fire ants in seven new housing estates this year, or more. Biosecurity Queensland has failed.

In May, I reported that fire ants were infesting four new housing estates in south-east Queensland: in Upper Kedron, Yarrabilba, Ripley and Pimpama. Since then, fire ants have been found in a new housing estate in Jimboomba in the Logan area, in a new estate in Raceview in the Ipswich area and in a new housing estate in Beerwah; the first to be ...

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28 Jun 2017

Fire ants now in Moreton Bay area. Biosecurity Queensland has failed.

Because of Biosecurity Queensland’s incompetence, fire ants have now invaded the Moreton Bay Regional Council area north of Brisbane: the third largest local government area in Queensland after Brisbane and the Gold Coast which are already infested with fire ants. Most of south-east Queensland is now infested with fire ants. On 6th June, Biose...

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23 Jun 2017

Fire ants now in East Brisbane parks. Biosecurity Queensland has failed.

Fire ants are now infesting parks in the suburb of East Brisbane: putting the safety of young children at risk. Fire ants have been found in heritage listed Mowbray Park, on the bank of the Brisbane River, and in nearby Real Park. Both parks have picnic areas and children’s playgrounds: particularly attractive places for fire ants to nests. ...

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12 Jun 2017

Biosecurity Queensland's fire ant map is out of date. Fire ants are out of control.

Fire ants are out of control: moving into previously fire ant free suburbs and tightening their grip on suburbs they have already invaded. But Biosecurity Queensland’s fire ant map is nearly a year out of date. Is Biosecurity Queensland trying to cover-up this disaster and its own incompetence? In August 2015, 259 suburbs in the Brisbane, Gold...

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04 Jun 2017

Fire ant nests are popping up near Rosewood - again! Biosecurity Queensland has failed.

As the weather gets cooler, fire ants build mounts above their nests to soak up the warmth of the sun. Fire ant mounds are now popping up in grazing land and along the sides of major roads near the township of Rosewood in south-east Queensland. Rosewood is within the Ipswich City Council local government area, and like most of Ipswich, has been in...

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23 May 2017

Fire ant nests exploding in new housing estates. Biosecurity Queensland has abrogated its responsibility.

There is an explosion of fire ant nests in new housing estates on the edge of the Fire Ant Biosecurity Zone: threatening the safety and well-being of the residents and poised to spread even further. People carelessly or accidentally moving fire ants in truck-loads of soil, mulch, compost, hay or potted plants is the most common cause of fire ant...

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13 May 2017

Fire ants have infested Brisbane's south-west for 16 years. Biosecurity Queensland has failed.

Fire ants were first detected around Brisbane in 2001 in two locations: one in the north east, centred on the Port of Brisbane: the second and largest spread over suburbs in Brisbane’s south-west. The Port of Brisbane is again infested after a few years of being fire-ant free. Fire ants never left the suburbs in Brisbane’s south-west: inclu...

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03 May 2017

Hundreds and hundreds of fire ant nests. Biosecurity Queensland has lost control.

Hundreds and hundreds of fire ant nests on the edges of the fire ant infestation that covers more than 400,000ha of south-east Queensland are poised to spread the infestation even further. Fire ants are out of control because Biosecurity Queensland cannot kill them or stop them spreading. In July, the Australian Agriculture Ministers Council wi...

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19 Apr 2017

Biosecurity Queensland gets $900,000 to pitch a new fire ant program

Queensland Treasury has given Biosecurity Queensland nearly $1m to make a pitch for another $400m for a new Ten Year Fire Ant Eradication Plan to replace the Failed Fifteen Year Fire Ant Eradication Program. Biosecurity Queensland has spent $400m of public money over the past fifteen years chasing fire ants: with the result that fire ants are no...

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07 Apr 2017

Crunch time for Biosecurity Queensland's failed fire ant program

The Australian Agriculture Ministers will meet soon to decide the future of the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program. Over fifteen years, Biosecurity Queensland has spent $400m of public money on a failed chase after the last fire ant. Fire ants now infest an area ten times bigger than when they were first detected in south-east Quee...

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22 Mar 2017

No public scrutiny of Biosecurity Queensland's failing fire ant program

Even with $400m of public money, Biosecurity Queensland has failed to stop the spread of deadly fire ants. But the public is not allowed to know how Biosecurity Queensland spent so much public money for so little public good. Biosecurity Queensland tells the public that its fire ant program is ‘on track’ to eradicate fire ants: that it has ...

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08 Feb 2017

Commonwealth oversight of the fire ant program: poor.

Biosecurity Queensland, a Queensland government agency, has wasted $400m of public money trying to find and kill fire ants. Fire ant now infest an area over 400,000ha: ten times bigger than it was in 2002. Clearly, Biosecurity Queensland is incapable of managing the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program. The fire ant program is a n...

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21 Jan 2017

Where are fire ants: really?

A vigilant Queensland public has found 60%-70% of the fire ants we know about so far. But, to remain vigilant, the public needs to now just where fire ants are, or are likely to be. But Biosecurity Queensland’s Fire Ant Restricted Area maps, now covering an area of 410,000ha, ten times more than in the beginning, are more about convincing the...

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05 Jan 2017

Did Biosecurity Queensland managers write their own fire ant program review?

It’s hard not to believe that they didn’t. Biosecurity Queensland has spent about $400m of public money trying to eradicate a fire ant infestation that is now ten times what it was in 2002. In 2015, the Australian Agricultural Ministers’ Forum commissioned a fifth independent scientific review of the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradic...

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29 Nov 2016

Queensland lost the war on fire ants in June 2001

The Science Manager of Biosecurity Queensland’s fire ant program warned in October 2016, that Australia could lose the war against the super-pest, red imported fire ants, if the Commonwealth did not give the program more money. With his long association with the Queensland fire ant pr...

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19 Nov 2016

Fire ant fact check: Two incursions eradicated. Really?

In January 2016, the Science Manager of Biosecurity Queensland’s Fire Ant Program wrote that the program had eradicated two incursions of the Red Imported Fire Ant. Just six months later, the Port of Brisbane, Queensland’s largest port and the site of one of those incursions, was ...

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18 Oct 2016

Fire ants out of control: more nests found in last year than previous years

‘There have been more fire ant nests found in the last 12 months than in previous years,’ a former fire ant program field assistant has told me. Another former field assistant told me ‘I have observed farms….in the Alberton area …which previously had low infestations, now have fifty plus nests’ and ‘In property had fift...

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03 Oct 2016

Fire ants out of control: back in Brookfield

Brookfield, a leafy semi-rural suburb in Brisbane’s west, has been off the Fire Ant Restricted Area maps for many years. But it is back on them again now. In September this year owners of a landscape business in Brookfield did the right thing and reported suspicious ants to Biosecurity Queensland. Biosecurity Queensland collected some samples ...

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01 Oct 2016

Fire ants out of control: now in Bracken Ridge.

Large fire ant nests have been found in Bracken Ridge, a suburb on Brisbane’s northern edge and more than ten kilometres from the nearest fire ant nests at the Brisbane Airport: more evidence that fire ants are out of control. Fire ant nests get bigger over time. Large nests in Bracken Ridge mean that fire ants have been there, undetected, for...

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15 Sep 2016

Biosecurity Qld sacks fire ant program whistle-blower

In August, Biosecurity Queensland sacked a diligent fire ant program field assistant. His sin was to call out program managers’ unfair treatment of workers and their practices of exposing workers to health risks – one time too many. Update: 8th December 2016: Since the whistle-blower was sacked, it looks like the old practices of flagrantly ...

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24 Jul 2016

Fire Ant Fiasco Fact Check

On 19th July 2016, Steve Austin, ABC 612, interviewed Ms Sarah Corcoran, Director of the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program about why the eradication program has been such a failure. The Fire Ant Eradication Program is managed by Biosecurity Queensland which is part of the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. ...

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17 Jul 2016

Fire Ant Fiasco: ignore the science, waste public money, dump the consequences back onto the public

The National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program, run by the Queensland Government with national funding, is a fiasco. The Queensland Government, from both sides of politics, has spent $350m of public money over fifteen years on hundreds of staff and thousands of tonnes of bait. The fire ant infestation is now ten times worse than it was when...

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08 Jul 2016

Fire ants are coming back!

The Queensland Government is claiming it can eradicate fire ants while fire ants are re-infesting ‘fire ant free’ zones. In 2001, there were two separate fire ant infestations around Brisbane: one in some south-western suburbs and another in some north-east suburbs, including the Port of Brisbane and the Brisbane Airport. In 2012, the Queen...

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04 Jul 2016

Queensland Government dumps the fire ant problem onto the public

Having failed to stop the spread of fire ants into 280 suburbs covering more than 350,000ha of south-east Queensland, the Queensland government is now dumping the fire ant problem onto the public. On 1 July 2016, the new Biosecurity Act 2014 came into effect. It creates a ‘General Biosecurity Obligation’ which means that people and organisat...

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24 Jun 2016

Searching for fire ants by helicopter: remote sensing or remote chance?

In 2009, with fire ants still marching across south-east Queensland, Professor Roush from the University of Melbourne and his team reviewed the fire ant program. They stated the obvious when they said the Queensland Government was not eradicating fire ants because they couldn’t find them and they needed to do something different. Incredibly, ...

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20 Jun 2016

Creating a fire ant biosecurity industry?

Has the Queensland government, of both political persuasions, been creating the conditions for a new industry of private fire ant bio-security consultants: consultants to charge Queensland businesses and residents for services the State government has failed to deliver, with more than $350m of public money, over the past fifteen years?

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12 Jun 2016

Fire Ant Program in SEQ in Limbo

The Fire Ant Program in SEQ is in Limbo: Eradicate, contain, manage? Who pays? The Commonwealth Agriculture Ministers’ Forum (AGMIN) has yet to make a decision on the future of the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication (RIFA) Program in South East Queensland (the Program), the Queensland Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, Leanne Dona...

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07 Jun 2016

Biosecurity Queensland: incapable now and in the future

In September 2015, an independent panel found that Biosecurity Queensland, a division of the Department of Agriculture and Forestry (DAFF), is incapable of protecting Queensland’s economy, environment and way of life from the threats of invasive pests and diseases: both now and in the foreseeable future. Biosecurity Queensland was created in ...

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12 Apr 2016

Fire ant Fiasco

Fire ants are on the march….

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