Portrait of a red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta.
Portrait of a red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. Alex Wild - University of Texas

Perrett blasts fire ant program as over budget and overdue

GYMPIE MP and Shadow Minister for Agriculture Tony Perret has blasted the State Government's fire ant program for being over budget and overdue.

CLICK HERE: Dire warning as fire ant sightings on rise

The State Agriculture Department's IT program, designed to help national fire ant eradication, and engage with stakeholders, was now more than three months overdue due to 'resourcing issues', Mr Perrett said.

The bites Peter Schuback believes were from fire ants.
The bites Peter Schuback believes were from fire ants. Contributed

The initial budget for the fire ant project was $694,000, although this had now blown out to $1 million with no end date in sight, he said. 

"We have seen project blowouts, year-long delays as well as 123% surge in customer complaints in the department since 2015.

Effects of broadcast baiting on red imported fire ants. Report.

Photo Contributed
Effects of broadcast baiting on red imported fire ants. Contributed

"Fire ant eradication is a serious issue for our landholders and communities, one which should be properly funded and resourced.

"It is also very clear that Queensland farmers are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the quality of service they are receiving from the Department of Agriculture.

Fire ants are 2-6mm long. 

Photo Contributed
Fire ants are 2-6mm long. Contributed

"Annastacia Palaszczuk has cut 40 frontline staff from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries since it came to government - including cuts to Biosecurity Queensland staff in the last budget.

"The Palaszczuk Labor Government's anti-farmer agenda is hurting regional Queensland.”

"Whether it be Labor's unfair vegetation laws, anti-dam agenda or underfunding and mismanagement of our all-important DAF and Biosecurity departments, no area is safe.

"Only a Deb Frecklington LNP Government will support our farmers and bridge the divide between South East Queensland and the regions.”

POWER 30 - Gympie MP Tony Perrett.
Gympie MP and Shadow Minister for Agriculture Tony Perrett. Philippe Coquerand