Funding brought forward in the fight against Red Imported Fire Ants

Agriculture ministers across the country have unanimously committed to maintain momentum in the fight against red imported fire ants, including through a new and extended National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program. 

The Queensland Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries, the Hon Mark Furner MP, briefed the Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) on the work that has been completed to date under the program, and further work to continue the response plan.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Murray Watt acknowledged the work of the Queensland and New South Wales Governments in containing the spread of fire ants, which are a significant threat to agriculture, biodiversity and public health. 

Minister Watt further welcomed the united approach of all Ministers to pursuing eradication of this major pest, under a new response program.

“The discussion at today’s AMM signalled a common purpose in continuation of the important eradication efforts,” Minister Watt said.

“I welcome the decision of most jurisdictions, including the Commonwealth, to bring forward funding that had been committed for fire ant eradication in future years, so that more can be done right now.

“Remaining jurisdictions have committed to similarly seek approval to bring forward their future funding, through their Budget processes. 

“This will result in up to $60 million being spent on eradication efforts, just this financial year, which is nearly four times what had previously been committed. 

“This funding will now allow increased momentum right now, to combat this threat, while future funding arrangements are considered.

“Ministers also noted the success and effort of the program to date in slowing down the spread of such a significant biosecurity threat, and that additional efforts will be needed to achieve eradication in the future.

“Eradicating fire ants is not an easy task – many countries have tried and failed but we have remained successful in containing their spread. 

“This united approach, between all Federal, State and Territory Governments, will make sure that continues.” 

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