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SENATE INQUIRY INTO SPREAD OF RED IMPORTED FIRE ANTS

Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has welcomed a Senate Inquiry into the spread of red imported fire ants.
Mr Littleproud said the inquiry was urgently needed, with Labor losing control of its National Fire Ant Eradication Program and failing to commit to the funding required.
The Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee for Inquiry will investigate the costs and impacts, if red imported fire ants are able to spread across Australia, as well as an assessment of the current and proposed fire ant response plans.
It will also investigate the effectiveness of eradication efforts and undertake an evaluation of funding provided for current and proposed red imported fire ant response plans.
“This inquiry couldn’t come soon enough, with red imported fire ants now on the Gold Coast and just five kilometres from the border,” Mr Littleproud said.
“The Invasive Species Council is warning red imported fire ants could now spread beyond current containment zones into western Queensland and New South Wales. This would have devastating consequences.”
A Response Plan says there needs to be $592 million spent over the next four years to control the pest and immediately implement funding for 2023-24.
Mr Littleproud added the lack of action was undermining previous work that had been done under the Coalition Government.
“The Federal Labor Government should be contributing their share of funding that is required under the $133 million Response Plan immediately,” Mr Littleproud said.
“We now know in the Response Plan, a funding option was reduced to just $84 million, as some jurisdictions, including the Albanese Labor Government, hadn’t got their internal funding sorted. This isn’t good enough and we need to investigate the consequences.”

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