Agriculture Minister puts his foot down on fire ants

Federal Member for Flynn Ken O’Dowd and Federal Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce.
Federal Member for Flynn Ken O’Dowd and Federal Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce. Mike Richards GLA200514POLI

AGRICULTURE Minister Barnaby Joyce put his foot down on Gladstone's biggest pest on Tuesday.

Touring Fisherman's Landing, the Minister said it was time for city residents and businesses to arm themselves against fire ants.

His comments come on the tail of a discovery of the insects at Yarwun late last year.

Mr Joyce implored residents, businesses and employees to arm themselves with the knowledge needed to detect the killer ants.

Fire ants are a threat to national biosecurity.

"If you let this problem get out of hand, it will come back to bite you," he insisted.

"This is not just a problem for Gladstone. If fire ants spread across the country and into backyards, it will be a horror story."

"Fire ants are a premier concern in the country," he said. "We never want it to get to a point where there is no hope left."

Mr Joyce was joined on his tour by Federal MP for Flynn Ken O'Dowd.

Mr O'Dowd reassured stakeholders that while the problem was currently under control, preventative measures would need to be in place permanently.

"We've currently got it under control," Mr O'Dowd said. "If we don't, it could cost Australia billions of dollars."

Billboards at Yarwun and Fisherman's Landing highlight the need for vigilance.

Australia is not the only country with a fire ant problem.

The insects have cost America $7 billion.



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