Is It Too Late To Win War On Fire Ants?

Fire ants are back in the news, and once again, it's for all the wrong reasons.

After almost two decades of sugarcane growers sounding the alarm on fire ants, I was hopeful we might finally see some effective action to eradicate one of the world's most invasive species from our shores.

The appearance of this destructive pest south of the border in New South Wales late last year, seemed to spur the government into action.

More funding was promised, and a Senate enquiry launched. Yes, there was plenty of talk, but what concrete steps have been taken?

Certainly nothing like the action required to finally contain and eradicate a species that has the potential to devastate Australia's agricultural sector, not to mention seriously disrupt the lifestyles of everyday Aussies.

And now it may be too late.

Recently we've been told that more than one hundred nests were discovered on an Australian Defence Force base at Oakie, west of the Great Dividing Range, putting fire ants squarely in the heart of the Murray Darling Basin.

Considering we know they can travel great distances via waterways, using a technique known as rafting, this discovery means they now are within easy reach of central and western Queensland and New South Wales, as well as South Australia and Victoria.

Of course, other state and territory governments share some responsibility for the failure to eradicate this pest.

This is a biosecurity problem with huge ramifications for the entire country, but until now, other state and territory governments have turned away, treating it as a Queensland problem.

We are seeing the consequences of that approach now with fire ants practically on their doorstep. How long will it be before they're in West Australia and the Top End too?

It's time for all governments – federal, state and territory – to take this threat seriously and commit to providing any and all resources necessary to win the battle against fire ants once and for all.

We need a program that is properly resourced with hundreds, maybe even thousands of boots on the ground every single day, seeking out and destroying these nests.

We don't need more reviews, enquiries, or broken funding promises. We need leadership and real, large-scale containment and eradication action, and we need it immediately.

It's time to stop talking about it and just do it.

/Public Release. This material from the originating organization/author(s) might be of the point-in-time nature, and edited for clarity, style and length. Mirage.News does not take institutional positions or sides, and all views, positions, and conclusions expressed herein are solely those of the author(s).View in full here.