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Federal Government committed to eradicating Queensland's fire ant problem.



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HON WARREN TRUSS MP MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY

AFFA01/185WT 5 July 2001

Federal Government committed to eradicating Queensland's fire ant problem

The Federal Government will commit funds to help eradicate the Queensland fire ant incursion, the Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Warren Truss, announced today.

Mr Truss said the fire ants pose a serious threat, particularly to Australia's multi-billion dollar agriculture sector.

"If the fire ant is allowed to spread beyond the Brisbane area, it could cost Australia millions of dollars in control costs," he said.

"The ant could also be responsible for serious damage to property, reduce the amenity value of parks and recreational areas and severely impact on our biodiversity.

"For the sake of future generations we must make a stand now and do all we can to eradicate this pest.

"It appears the Australian climate is very much suited to the fire ant so governments need to work together to tackle any potential of the pest spreading in Australia.

"The Federal Government has been assisting Queensland and other States and Territories in developing an eradication program for the fire ant.

"The program is estimated to cost up to $120 million over five years and will be considered by Federal and State agriculture ministers over the next few weeks.

"Under the proposal, the Federal Government would contribute 50 per cent of the costs with the balance funded by the States and Territories based on their population sizes.

"This is the standard funding arrangement for dealing with exotic pest and disease threats of national significance.

"The fire ant constitutes one of the most serious pest incursions Australia has faced, and only the combined, concerted efforts of all governments will eradicate it."

Minister's office: Yvonne Best (02) 6277 7520 or 0418 415 772

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Last updated 5 July 2001

URL: http://www.affa.gov.au/ministers/truss/releases/00/0185wt.html Commonwealth of Australia 2001