National vegetable and potato industry body AUSVEG has today applauded the Commonwealth government’s ongoing commitment to eradicate Red imported fire ant from Australia.
An independent review of the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program has found that if not contained, an infestation of Red imported fire ant could affect at least 20 sectors of the economy, including horticulture, and cost Australia $1.6 billion in total.
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce recently re-stated the Commonwealth government’s commitment to eradication efforts for the pest species, with a proposed ten-year eradication plan worth $380 million to be discussed at the next Agriculture Ministers’ Forum in May 2017.
“Red imported fire ant pose a massive risk to crops in large numbers, and a wide-spread infestation could inflict serious environmental damage, as well as having significant community impacts,” said AUSVEG National Manager – Science and Extension Dr Jessica Lye.
“The Commonwealth government’s continuing commitment to funding eradication efforts for Red imported fire ant is a very welcome sign that they are dedicated to wiping out populations of this pest before the infestation spreads beyond south-east Queensland.”
AUSVEG is the national body representing Australia’s vegetable and potato growers.
The Commonwealth government has contributed over $150 million to eradication efforts for Red imported fire ant since 2001, with all state and territory governments also funding eradication efforts until Western Australia’s withdrawal from the program in 2014.
“The willingness of our national and state governments to take part in coordinated efforts to eradicate or manage pest and disease populations is a vital aspect of protecting Australia’s overall biosecurity,” said Dr Lye.
“With Red imported fire ant posing such a serious threat to industries and communities around Australia, the vegetable and potato industries applaud the ongoing contributions by the Commonwealth government to ensure that this regional incursion does not transform into a national threat.” 

Shaun Lindhe, AUSVEG National Manager – Communications
Phone: (03) 9882 0277, Mobile: 0405 977 789, Email: