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Member for Maranoa David Littleproud addresses the media in Canberra 1

Queensland Government is failing on fire ant eradication

Leader of the Nationals and Member for Maranoa David Littleproud has called on Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to overhaul the state government’s efforts to eradicate fire ants from the Sunshine State.

Mr Littleproud’s call comes after the potentially devastating pest was recently discovered on the outskirts of Toowoomba, meaning the fire ant has made it across the Great Dividing Range for the first time.

The recent discovery comes after the Queensland Government sought additional funds in 2021 from the national fire ant program, which was launched in 2017 to help eradicate the pest from Australian shores.

“The Queensland Government was warned about the issue of fire ants almost two years ago, when I was Agriculture Minister and we had to unlock further funding to help support the program in the state,” Mr Littleproud said.

“As a nation we got very close to eradicating fire ants but unfortunately the Queensland Government has taken its foot off the pedal and now the pests have spread.

“From what I understand, the recent spread of the fire ants may be to do with new housing developments being built that have disturbed nests that had been undetected.

“I call on the Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to overhaul the state’s program because it is becoming apparent that the efforts under Agriculture Minister Mark Furner are currently not working.”

Mr Littleproud said a spread of fire ants across the Great Dividing Range could have serious ramifications for the entire country.

“The frightening thing is that if it gets up above the Great Dividing Range, it could potentially get into the Murray Darling Basin, and that could effectively see the fire ants go right down to Adelaide,” Mr Littleproud said.

“In 2017 the federal, state and territory governments all put funds together to help deal with this problem and so it is disappointing to see that Queensland has dropped the ball in this regard.

“What’s also troubling is recent media reports which suggest that it took state government authorities more than two months to respond to reports of the latest outbreak near Toowoomba.

“This clearly shows that Queensland Agriculture Minister Mark Furner is failing in the co-ordination of the state’s eradication efforts, so I also call on the federal Labor Government to ensure the Queensland Government has all the support it needs to address this issue.”


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