The Coalition’s announcement of $3 million for the next 12 months of the yellow crazy eradication program is welcome, as federal funding for the program will run out in June.
‘We welcome the announcement from Mr Entsch for continued funding for the next 12 months,’ Invasive Species Council conservation director James Trezise said.
‘Yellow crazy ants are one of the world’s worst invasive species. If left uncontrolled, they will devastate the environment and economy of Far North Queensland.
‘The Wet Tropics Management Authority have run a highly successful eradication program that has been safeguarding these World Heritage-listed rainforests and protecting the Cairns community.
‘We welcome this commitment, but the future of the Cairns eradication program is still uncertain. This announcement only locks in funding for the next year of the program, with a promise to fund the work under the National Landcare Program in future years. There is no clear commitment on the level of funding the Cairns yellow crazy ant eradication program would receive under this arrangement, making it vulnerable to future budget pressures.
‘The federal funding commitment is only half the solution. The Queensland Government must step up and demonstrate its commitment to protect Queenslanders and ensure the program’s success by funding its half of the eradication program.
‘While there is promise of a successful eradication program for Cairns, the Townsville infestations of yellow crazy ants are spiralling out of control.
‘We are yet to see any commitments to tackle this highly damaging pest in Townsville, despite the impacts it has on the community, agriculture, tourism and the environment,’ Mr Trezise said.