News and Views

Queensland way of life could feel fire ant sting

The Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) is calling on all Queenslanders to do their bit for biosecurity in the wake of a recent detection of red imported fire ants outside the existing biosecurity zones on farmland in Anthony, Scenic Rim.

QFF President Stuart Armitage said red imported fire ants were one of the world’s most invasive pests that not only threatened Queensland’s agricultural industries but could have major social, environmental and economic impacts across the state.

“Governments have allocated $411 million to the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program to eradicate the ants, which are currently contained to the southeast of the state. The program’s success relies on everyone, from farmers to people in inner Brisbane, to do their bit,” Mr Armitage said.

“Fire ants attack indiscriminately, potentially destroying the way of life for many Queenslanders and costing the state $45 billion over 30 years.”

“It may not be well understood, but if fire ants become permanently established people in affected areas wouldn’t be able to enjoy our natural amenity or recreational areas. That means no camping, no barbecues on the lawn, no backyard cricket and no outside pets.”

“Vast areas of the state’s natural environment, including world heritage areas and national parks, are prone to fire ant invasion.”

“Where agriculture is concerned, our nursery industry is already grappling with the problem, as more than 60% of this $900 million industry is based in SEQ. The industry relies on $150 – 200 million annual interstate trade of ornamental, landscape, vegetable seedlings, fruit trees, and forestry stock.”

“A lot of people seem to think that biosecurity is just a problem for agriculture – it’s not. Everyone has a role to play and a general biosecurity obligation.”

“Australia is the closest any country has come to eradicating fire ants, and if any state can do it, Queensland can.”

If you see any suspect ants or nests, please take a photograph and submit via Biosecurity Queensland’s online report form at or call 13 25 23.

Source: QFF

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