26 November, 2023

New talks to take sting out of fire ants

Council staff recently met with state government representatives of Biosecurity Queensland (BQ), the Fire Ant Suppression Taskforce (FAST) and the National Fire Ant Eradication Program (NFAEP) to discuss the new Fire Ant Response Plan 2023-2027.

New talks to take sting out of fire ants - feature photo

Somerset Regional Council Pest Management Working Group Chair Cr Helen Brieschke said the new response plan had been developed to have greater impact through a partnership arrangement between the state government and relevant south-east Queensland council and other stakeholders.

“The fire ant issue needs strong action if we are to eradicate this pest, and working closely with relevant state departments is a good starting point,” Cr Brieschke said.

“Under this partnership, self-management is being suggested as a key component, and while I welcome action on this front, we need to understand what the cost and resourcing implications are for Somerset Regional Council.

“Providing relevant staff with training and supplying treatments (baits) are practical aids, however we need to be clear about where the responsibilities begin and end, and how a small regional council can manage the additional activities, both on the ground and behind the scenes, without additional funding.

“Fire ant eradication is a nationwide problem, and very much beyond the business-as-usual activities that Council undertakes as part of its pest management programs.”

Cr Brieschke said Council would write to Mark Furner MP, Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities, to request funding and resources to support the work necessary under the Fire Ant Eradication Program.

“Council will also discuss a draft fi re ant self-management plan for the Somerset region at a meeting between FAST and key Council officers,” Cr Brieschke said.

“Taking a partnered approach is important, and the right balance needs to be established from the outset.”


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