Fire ant eradication up for discussion

Red ant work on tree

State and federal governments are about to have a meeting where they will decide whether or not to fund fire ant eradication or abandon Australia to a future swarmed with fire ants. Ian Atkinson, CEO of the Nursery and Garden Industry Queensland (NGIQ), is one of the voices calling for Australians to demand funding for eradication of these invasive ants. In a widely circulated letter, Ian asks for gardeners to take action, and join a campaign. For more information on fire ants visit the Invasive Species Council website.

If RIFA is not eradicated the Australian garden sector will be severely impacted because it will reduce the public use of private and public gardens. Looking at the experience in the USA I estimate our market will shrink by 20% over the next 20 years. The NGIQ Board urge you to help the campaign organised by the Invasive Species Council.

The Queensland government has just released a report into the fire ant eradication program in South East Queensland. They had been keeping the report secret, now we know why. 

The report’s pages tell a shocking story: the current fire ant eradication program does not have the resources it needs to get the job done. The report says we have three options: 

  • Option A: Inject the fire ant eradication program with an immediate funding boost so it can eradicate Australia’s fire ant infestation over the next decade.
  • Option B: Keep things as they are, with taxpayers footing an ongoing indefinite cost that will only slow the spread of fire ants.
  • Option C: Give up and let fire ants spread to nearly every ecosystem and neighbourhood in Australia.

We must choose Option A. We cannot afford to live with fire ants.

A future where we didn’t eradicate fire ants means we have one of the world’s worst invasive species spread wall-to-wall across our continent. NGIQ and GIA are both active in trying to get the right decision but we need you help.

Please add your name to this petition and spread it out on your networks.

We have two weeks until a key meeting of Ministers, so please don’t leave this to another day, if concerned ACT NOW.

Best regards
Ian Atkinson, NGIQ CEO

Dear Ministers Watt (Federal), Furner (QLD), Moriarty (NSW), Tierney (VIC), Palmer (TAS), Scriven (SA), Kirby (NT), Jarvis (WA) and Vasarotti (ACT),

I support the recommendations of the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program Strategic Review and call on you to support option A – boosting funding to the eradication program so it can eradicate Australia’s fire ant infestation over the next decade. 

I call on you to endorse this position at the meeting of Australian agriculture and biosecurity ministers on 13 July in Perth.

We need an immediate increase in the resources available to the National Fire Ant Eradication Program. 

The pillars of containment, suppression and eradication have been proven effective in the current program at slowing the spread of fire ants and reducing their density. 

To achieve full eradication this approach needs to be scaled to meet the challenge of fire ant infestation.

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