Fire ant outbreak a ‘failure'

A FIREY meeting about the spread of fire ants in the region, potentially threatening crops and livestock, was taken seriously by landholders and farmers in Rosewood on Wednesday night.

LNP primary industries spokesman, Ray Hopper, called on State Primary Industries Minister, Tim Mulherin, to front the public meeting at to give a full explanation of the situation at present.

Mr Hopper said the minister needed to fully explain to the Lockyer Valley community exactly how he planned to stop the spread of fire ants labelling it an atrocity.

“The containment of fire ants has been another outstanding failure,” Mr Hopper said.

“Hundreds of millions of dollars has been spent and yet they continue to spread.

“Maybe the meeting should be held in Toowoomba, because that's where they're heading.”

Marion Lawie, Manager of Community Engagement for the Biosecurity Queensland Control Centre, was also present at the meeting.

“We had a presentation on Science 101, which is basically what you need to know about fire ants, how to find and what to do once you find them,” Ms Lawie said.

She said about 30 people were there and heard about an approved risk management plan to counterattack the spread of the pest.

“These are the things you need to do to manage the risk of fire ants and the spread of the species via hay and harvested seeds,” Ms Lawie said.

“There is a lot of hay production in the Rosewood area and we need to manage the situation.”

“It is not just a property, it could be various properties affected and if there is a small chance to manage the risk of fire ants being spread.”

She said there was a lot of talk from landholders about the farming restrictions but also the need to take precautions.

She said there would be a similar meeting in Gatton on March 16 from 7pm at the DPI Gatton Research Station.


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