Queensland agriculture will benefit from the announcement by agricultural ministers to fund a 10-year $380 million ($411.4 million indexed) plan to rid Australia of red imported fire ants (RIFA), with the Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) welcoming the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program.
QFF President Stuart Armitage said it was encouraging to see governments make this biosecurity funding commitment until 2027, which will go a long way in fighting the spread of fire ants – an issue that has the potential to impact all Queensland agricultural industries.
“QFF has been working with its industry members, government and the Invasive Species Council (ISC), including hosting an industry-wide strategic meeting earlier in the year, to ensure the right level of funding was committed to the continued efforts to eradicate RIFA.”
“Governments from all states, territories and the Commonwealth should be commended for recognising the importance of funding biosecurity eradication programs.”
“Now that the funding has been allocated, it is up to the Queensland Government to eradicate RIFA and deliver upon this collective national investment.”
“Australia is the closest any country has come to eradicating fire ants, and if any state can do it, Queensland can.”
“According to the Queensland Government and the ISC, if left uncontrolled RIFA have the potential to cost Queensland alone $45 billion over 30 years, dwarfing the cost of eradication.”
“The integrity of our biosecurity framework must remain at the highest priority for governments. QFF acknowledges that this is an expensive task, but it protects the quality of life of all Australians – not just agriculture.”
“QFF will continue to work with its industry members, other stakeholders and the state government to help eradicate fire ants from Queensland and Australia once and for all,” said Mr. Armitage.
The new program will be overseen by an independent steering committee of representatives from the Commonwealth and state and territory governments designed to give more autonomy and accountability.
Everyone has a biosecurity responsibility and must play their part. If you see any suspect ants or nests, please take a photograph and submit via Biosecurity Queensland’s online report form at www.daf.qld.gov.au/fireants or call 13 25 23.