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Growers welcome funding for fire ant eradication

Queensland growers will benefit from a 10-year funding commitment to rid Australia of fire ants.

Growcom welcomed the $380 million ($411.4 million indexed) commitment within the National Red Imported Fire Ant (RIFA) Eradication Program.

Chief Advocate Rachel Mackenzie commended all governments for their commitment to invest in addressing such a serious biosecurity issue for the state’s production horticulture industry.

“Fire ants are an ongoing major issue for Queensland fruit and vegetable growers within the south east corner,” she said.

“The recent reports of RIFA encroaching upon horticulture production regions such as the Lockyer Valley and the Sunshine Coast have sounded alarms bells within our industry.

“With the certainty of funding, it is up to the Queensland Government to eradicate RIFA and deliver upon this collective national investment.

“Growcom will continue with our grower members and alongside government to ensure we are all contributing to the eradication efforts.

“On a biosecurity issue as important as RIFA, Growcom will continue to ensure the Queensland Government is held to account in delivering upon its commitments to the eradication program.”

According to the Queensland Government and the Invasive Species Council (ISC), if left uncontrolled, RIFA have the potential to cost Queensland alone $45 billion over 30 years, dwarfing the cost of eradication.

The new program will be overseen by an independent steering committee of representatives from the Commonwealth and state and territory governments designed to give more autonomy and accountability.

Everyone has a biosecurity responsibility and must play their part.

Source: Growcom

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