The Invasive Species Council have welcomed the announcement today by federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek that invasive yellow crazy ants have been eradicated from two sites totalling 48 hectares in Mount Peter and Wrights Creek, south of Cairns.
“This is an exciting announcement and an important milestone in the fight to stop one of the world’s worst invasive species spreading. It is further proof that Australia is a world leader when it comes to invasive ant eradications,” said Invasive Species Council spokesperson Reece Pianta.
“It clearly shows success can be achieved when governments provide long-term funding certainty for skilled teams to undertake the treatment and intensive surveillance required to achieve complete eradication.
“The federal government is rightly celebrating this achievement today, but it should also be a wakeup call to federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers over the Albanese Government’s reckless delay in committing adequate funding for fire ant eradication.
“For both yellow crazy ants and fire ants we have the tools and teams to get the job done, but delay, underfunding or wavering government commitment will lead to failure.
“The recent $24.8 million commitment for both the Cairns and Townsville yellow crazy ant eradication programs gives Australia a real chance to stop these invasive ants spreading further.
“Whether this success at these two sites can be replicated in other infestation areas will depend on the ongoing funding commitments of the federal and Queensland governments beyond this short term funding boost.
“Yellow crazy ants overwhelm and kill native species, turning forests silent, making homes and backyards unlivable, and severely impacting tourism and trade.
“If these super pests are allowed to spread they will devastate our wildlife, impose huge costs on agriculture and tourism and threaten Australia’s outdoor lifestyle.
“Eradicating yellow crazy ants will help safeguard the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, one of the oldest rainforests in the world. This includes protecting a large number of threatened species such as the critically endangered Mt Elliot nursery frog and endangered Kuranda tree frog, which occur nowhere else on Earth.”
“The cost of failure far outweighs the cost of eradication,” Mr Pianta said.
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