29 July 2013

Media Release: State government plan to wind down fight against fire ants slammed as stupid and dangerous

Media Release - Ipswich City Councillor Paul Tully

State government plans to wind down the fight against fire ants have been slammed as stupid and dangerous.

Agriculture Minister John McVeigh announced today residents and businesses will be asked to treat fire ant infestations themselves.

Fire ants were first found in Australia in 2001 at the Port of Brisbane and at Wacol.

Major infestations were then quickly discovered at Goodna and other parts of Ipswich and Brisbane.

Ipswich councillor Paul Tully said Ipswich had been a hotspot for fire ants for 12 years with the discovery of thousands of active nests.

The latest infestation has been at Muirlea on Ipswich's outskirts.

Cr Tully said a fresh infestation was discovered at a disused dump at Woogaroo St Goodna in May when hundreds of new fire ant nests were found more than 10 years after they were thought to have been eliminated from the suburb.

Cr Tully said the plan to force property owners to fight their own infestations was doomed to fail.

He said fire ants were on the edge of the Lockyer Valley and could easily advance to the Darling Downs.

"They could soon start to destroy Australia's agricultural industry if they get a foothold in our rich farmland west of Brisbane."

Cr Tully said state government claims fire ants will be eliminated by 2015 would be a monumental failure.

"This is a stupid and dangerous approach in the war on fire ants.

"We have never controlled other introduced species such as rabbits, foxes and cane toads, so the chances of getting rid of fire ants are next to zero.

"No country in the world including the United States and South America has been able to beat the scourge of fire ants."

Cr Tully described the state government's new approach to fighting fire ants as "bizarre".

"It's a bit like scrapping the ambulance service and asking everyone to buy their own first aid kit," Cr Tully said. U

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