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Australia : $411.4 million funding for new era of fire ant eradication.

Agriculture Ministers from across Australia today committed to fund a 10-year $411.4 million plan to rid Australia of red imported fire ants.

Minster for Agriculture and Fisheries Bill Byrne said all ministers at the Agricultural Ministers Forum (AGMIN) had agreed it was in the national interest to effectively double the current amount of treatment and surveillance.

The Palaszczuk Government welcomes todays decision and remains committed to eradicating fire ants in Queensland, Minister Byrne said.

As a result of this agreement the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program will receive $38 million a year, adjusted annually for inflation, until 2027.

Minister Byrne said the boosted program would be overseen by an independent steering committee of high calibre representatives from the Commonwealth and State and Territory governments.

The Steering Committee is part of a new governance arrangement intended to provide high level strategic oversight to the operations of the national program.

The 10-year eradication plan has been approved by AGMIN and will now be implemented as a priority in Queensland.

That plan will include a significantly expanded fire ant treatment program which will commence in September 2017, running through to May 2018, he said.

The first treatment program will focus on the outer high risk infestation areas such as the Lockyer Valley and Scenic Rim local government areas.

Biosecurity Queensland will be communicating with residents and businesses in these areas before and during the treatment season.

We look forward to working with all our stakeholders and the South East Queensland community to eradicate fire ants once and for all.

Minister Byrne said ministers had agreed it remained in the national interest to eradicate fire ants due to the potential negative impacts these invasive species had on Australias economy, environment, public health and lifestyle.

While we still have a lot of work to do, Australia is the closest any country has come to eradicating fire ants, and we need to keep going, he said.

If left uncontrolled, the impacts of fire ants in Australia have been estimated to be between $5.3 billion and $45 billion over 20 to 70 years.

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Publication:Mena Report
Date:Jul 27, 2017
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