Friday, June 21, 2024

Major new Federal investment to fight fire ants

The Federal Government has approved an unprecedented investment which will see the National Fire Ant Eradication Program extended.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers and Agriculture Minister, Murray Watt, today announced $268 million for the Program over the next four years to intensify activities to control and contain this significant pest.

Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Murray Watt said the funding will expand the program to include 350 new workers, a new depot, new vehicles, new aerial eradication contracts and an additional 1400 tonnes of bait each year.

“This investment demonstrates our strong commitment to eradicate red imported fire ants from our shores,” said Minister Watt.

“Fire ants are one of the world’s worst super pests and have the potential to spread across 97% of Australia. They have the potential to do more damage to our agriculture and environment than all of the worst invasive pests combined.”

In July, all Australian agriculture ministers united in their support to fight fire ants and reaffirmed their commitment at the October agriculture ministers meeting. 

“This funding delivers the Australian Government’s share of that pledge and sets the stage for all states and territories to deliver their share,” the Minister said.

Queensland Agriculture Minister, Mark Furner said a nationally coordinated and decisive response was Australia’s best chance to eradicate the insidious pest.

“Queensland has been leading the way in responding directly to this issue and we have been successful at limiting the spread to south-east Queensland,” he said.

“The national eradication program is being complemented by the Palaszczuk Government’s $37.5 million Fire Ant Suppression Taskforce.

“Last month we launched a fire ant treatment blitz on the Gold Coast which is seeing targeted properties being treated and free fire ant treatment kits distributed.

“We are also working closely with the NSW Government on a cross-border taskforce to stop the further spread of fire ants,” said Mr Furner.

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