Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.

Submission to fire ant senate inquiry 2024

On the 18 October 2023, the following matter was referred to the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee for inquiry and report by 18 April 2024.

  1. The expected costs and impacts, if red imported fire ants are able to spread across Australia, on human health, social amenity, agriculture, the environment, infrastructure and regional workers;
  2. An assessment of the current and any proposed fire ant response plans for achieving the eradication of red imported fire ants;
  3. An evaluation of funding provided for the current or any proposed fire ant response plans;
  4. The effectiveness of eradication efforts and the spread of fire ants;
  5. Learnings of Varroa mite in managing red imported fire ants; and
  6. Any other related matters

You can read our submission supporting evidence here.

Recommendations:

Urgently needed actions to improve fire ant eradication:

  1. Eradication should remain the goal, the current national response plan should be
    endorsed and South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania should commit their
    outstanding share of funds to this plan.
  2. Urgently and rapidly review the funding for the national response plan.
  3. Commit at least $10 million/year for public advertising, education and engagement.
  4. Increase transparency and accountability in program delivery and review through:
    a. timely publication of key reports, minutes, priorities and data.
    b. formal stakeholder consultation and involvement in the steering committee.
  5. Urgently increase resources for the Fire Ant Suppression Taskforce (FAST) to support
    self-treatment by residents in Brisbane City and Moreton Bay local government areas.
  6. Ensure any additional outbreaks in NSW are detected and the risk of new outbreaks in
    NSW is limited by:
    a. Extending the Queensland fire ant biosecurity zones south to the Queensland-New
    South Wales border, including key cross border freight corridors.
    b. Auditing the movement of construction materials from south-east Queensland to
    NSW in 2022 and 2023 and systematically checking all high risk sites identified.
    c. Increasing ongoing biosecurity spot checks at Queensland border crossing points.

Longer term actions needed to achieve eradication and improve biosecurity preparedness:

7. Extend ministerial responsibility for fire ant eradication to include environment and health
ministers, in addition to agricultural ministers.

8. Ensure eradication funding decisions are made as part of a whole-of-government
response, and not just as part of the biosecurity or agriculture budget.

9. Commence development on a funding package for fire ant eradication beyond 2027, led
by the Commonwealth Government.

10. Consider establishing a stand alone fire ant response authority to run the eradication
program.

11. Undertake a comprehensive study of the predicted biodiversity impacts of fire ants and
develop key strategies to minimise their impact on Australia’s environment if they spread
beyond south-east Queensland.

12. Reform and increase national biosecurity funding to ensure that risk creators, like goods
importers, pay their fair share so that we can fund the measures needed to prevent high
risk invasive species from arriving and spreading in Australia.

13. Increase funding for research and development into technologies targeting invasive
insects, such as eDNA marker surveillance.

14. Establish a permanent national body to coordinate national actions on invasive ants and
provide dedicated funding for the National Invasive Ant Biosecurity Plan 2018-2028.

15. Undertake a comprehensive study of the health impacts of fire ants and their predicted
cost impacts on Australia’s health system.

Subscribe

Get our blog the Feral Herald delivered to your inbox.

Save the Snowies

The NSW government is one step away from allowing aerial control of feral horses in Kosciuszko National Park. This is huge news and a crucial step for our threatened native wildlife and the fragile alpine ecosystems they call home.

Dear Project Team,

[YOUR PERSONALISED MESSAGE WILL APPEAR HERE.] 

I support the amendment to the Kosciuszko National Park Wild Horse Heritage Management Plan to allow our incredible National Parks staff to use aerial shooting as one method to rapidly reduce feral horse numbers. I want to see feral horse numbers urgently reduced in order to save the national park and our native wildlife that live there.

The current approach is not solving the problem. Feral horse numbers have rapidly increased in Kosciuszko National Park to around 18,000, a 30% jump in just the past 2 years. With the population so high, thousands of feral horses need to be removed annually to reduce numbers and stop our National Park becoming a horse paddock. Aerial shooting, undertaken humanely and safely by professionals using standard protocols, is the only way this can happen.

The government’s own management plan for feral horses states that ‘if undertaken in accordance with best practice, aerial shooting can have the lowest negative animal welfare impacts of all lethal control methods’.

This humane and effective practice is already used across Australia to manage hundreds of thousands of feral animals like horses, deer, pigs, and goats.

Trapping and rehoming of feral horses has been used in Kosciuszko National Park for well over a decade but has consistently failed to reduce the population, has delayed meaningful action and is expensive. There are too many feral horses in the Alps and not enough demand for rehoming for it to be relied upon for the reduction of the population.

Fertility control as a management tool is only effective for a small, geographically isolated, and accessible population of feral horses where the management outcome sought is to maintain the population at its current size. It is not a viable option to reduce the large and growing feral horse population in the vast and rugged terrain of Kosciuszko National Park.

Feral horses are trashing and trampling our sensitive alpine ecosystems and streams, causing the decline and extinction of native animals. The federal government’s Threatened Species Scientific Committee has stated that feral horses ‘may be the crucial factor that causes final extinction’ for 12 alpine species.

I recognise the sad reality that urgent and humane measures are necessary to urgently remove the horses or they will destroy the Snowies and the native wildlife that call the mountains home. I support a healthy national park where native species like the Corroboree Frog and Mountain Pygmy Possum can thrive.

Kind regards,
[Your name]
[Your email address]
[Your postcode]


Dear Project Team,

[YOUR PERSONALISED MESSAGE WILL APPEAR HERE.] 

I support the amendment to the Kosciuszko National Park Wild Horse Heritage Management Plan to allow our incredible National Parks staff to use aerial shooting as one method to rapidly reduce feral horse numbers. I want to see feral horse numbers urgently reduced in order to save the national park and our native wildlife that live there.

The current approach is not solving the problem. Feral horse numbers have rapidly increased in Kosciuszko National Park to around 18,000, a 30% jump in just the past 2 years. With the population so high, thousands of feral horses need to be removed annually to reduce numbers and stop our National Park becoming a horse paddock. Aerial shooting, undertaken humanely and safely by professionals using standard protocols, is the only way this can happen.

The government’s own management plan for feral horses states that ‘if undertaken in accordance with best practice, aerial shooting can have the lowest negative animal welfare impacts of all lethal control methods’.

This humane and effective practice is already used across Australia to manage hundreds of thousands of feral animals like horses, deer, pigs, and goats.

Trapping and rehoming of feral horses has been used in Kosciuszko National Park for well over a decade but has consistently failed to reduce the population, has delayed meaningful action and is expensive. There are too many feral horses in the Alps and not enough demand for rehoming for it to be relied upon for the reduction of the population.

Fertility control as a management tool is only effective for a small, geographically isolated, and accessible population of feral horses where the management outcome sought is to maintain the population at its current size. It is not a viable option to reduce the large and growing feral horse population in the vast and rugged terrain of Kosciuszko National Park.

Feral horses are trashing and trampling our sensitive alpine ecosystems and streams, causing the decline and extinction of native animals. The federal government’s Threatened Species Scientific Committee has stated that feral horses ‘may be the crucial factor that causes final extinction’ for 12 alpine species.

I recognise the sad reality that urgent and humane measures are necessary to urgently remove the horses or they will destroy the Snowies and the native wildlife that call the mountains home. I support a healthy national park where native species like the Corroboree Frog and Mountain Pygmy Possum can thrive.

Kind regards,
[Your name]
[Your email address]
[Your postcode]